Cameron Green and Alex Carey steered Australia to an unlikely victory over the Black Caps on Tuesday, chasing down 233 with five overs to spare after slumping to 5-44 at one stage.
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Green survived cramps and a late collapse by the tail, hobbling between the wickets as Adam Zampa helped him take Australia to a two-wicket victory.
However much of the attention in the aftermath of the match was on Australia's top order, with under-fire captain Aaron Finch once again copping heat.
The skipper once again fell to a left-arm seamer, with Trent Boult trapping Finch lbw for just five - the same score he made in the third ODI against Zimbabwe.
Boult ripped through the top order as he snared three wickets, bowled 21 dot balls and conceded just 12 runs from his five-over spell.
The veteran seamer bowled Steve Smith for one and also had Marnus Labuschagne lbw for a duck.
Finch's dismissal took his ODI average in 2022 to just 14.08 - the lowest of any Australian opener in a calendar year after at least 10 innings.
Calls have been growing louder and louder for the skipper to be relieved of his duties ahead of the 2023 World Cup.
“At some stage, if he keeps failing this series, I think a call has to be made sooner rather than later,” Mark Waugh said in commentary for Fox Sports.
“It’s tough, but you can’t last forever. Everyone has their use-by date, no matter how good you are.”
This is bordering on untenable
— Daniel Cherny (@DanielCherny) September 6, 2022
Finch now out 5 times to Boult for 41 runs across their ODI encounters. The captain is well and truly into Mark Taylor slump territory here #AUSvNZ
— Daniel Brettig 🏏 (@danbrettig) September 6, 2022
To add he’s averaged 16 against NZ in he’s whole career. He’s continued selection is an insult on multiple levels
— Isaac Ham (@iHAM316) September 6, 2022
If Finch was an India, then we all would have gone mad after seeing his batting performance. He's been in horrible touch since many years.#AUSvNZ
— Vk18 (@SG_1511) September 6, 2022
Such brave performance by Carey and Green put @CricketAus out of its misery. Aussies need to work on their top order. Finch is not providing as much as he should. They better find a replacement in his place. Great Game though!#AUSvNZ
— Ashiqur Rahman (@halfpsyched) September 6, 2022
Zampa scoring more runs than Finch, Smith, Marnus and Maxwell 🤣 #AUSvNZ
— Ebelio J. Espínola B. (@espinola20) September 6, 2022
Cameron Green rescues Australia with heroic knock
In their first of a three-game series, New Zealand managed just 9-232 after being sent in by Finch.
When Matt Henry had David Warner caught on the boundary before Marcus Stoinis was clean bowled, Australia were in dire straits.
But Carey and Green played exquisitely, their 158-run partnership anchoring Australia's chase which looked set to carry to the final runs.
Then Carey departed for 85 (99), with Glenn Maxwell quickly following and Mitchell Starc soon after.
Green battled leg and calf cramps and needed work from the trainer as Australia sat at 8-207.
At 8-225 it began to pour with rain. Adam Zampa smacked a boundary before the heavens opened, forcing the players from the field with Australia ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern rain calculation.
They were off for just seven minutes and returned needing four runs to win.
They needed just two legal balls, with Zampa taking three runs off the rest of Mitchell Santner's over before Lockie Ferguson inadvertently finished it with a wide.
"I couldn't really walk for a sec there, credit to Zorb (Zampa) he was a finisher in the end," Green said.
"It was nice to be down the other end watching him go about it."
Zampa's handy knock of 13 not out was two more than Finch, Smith, Labuschagne and Stoinis contributed between them.
Carey said he and Green knew there was time to win back the contest.
"We knew we were in a bit of trouble, but we also knew there was lots of time left in the game," Carey told reporters.
"My job was to bounce off Greeny, and Greeny myself.
"We know how good he is. But taking this format to another step, he'll recover up nicely and go again on Thursday."
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