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Steve Smith set for reprieve after brutal reality check in epic Aussie T20 victory

Tim David and Mitch Marsh were the heroes as Australia made history, which doesn't bode well for Steve Smith.

Steve Smith, pictured here as Australia scored a stunning victory over New Zealand in the first T20.

Steve Smith is set to be given another chance to impress before the T20 World Cup this year after he was left out of Australia's XI for the first match against New Zealand on Wednesday - and watched on as the Aussies scored an incredible victory. Smith was overlooked for selection for the first of three games against the Kiwis, which serve as the last T20 internationals the Aussies will play before the World Cup in June.

The former captain watched on from the sidelines as Mitch Marsh and Tim David steered the tourists to a thrilling victory off the final ball, chasing down New Zealand's massive total of 215. David played a blinder of a cameo, making 31 not out off 10 balls at the death - including a four off the final ball to win.

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Marsh blasted an unbeaten 72 off 44 balls to steer Australia to their third-highest T20 chase of all time. The Aussies needed 32 runs off the final nine balls, with David exploding to hit 29 of the required runs.

With four required off the final delivery, David blasted Tim Southee's attempted yorker to the mid-wicket boundary, where Glenn Phillips made a valiant diving effort but saw the ball go under his outstretched hand. Marsh jumped into David's arms as the Aussies celebrated wildly.

"It was special to watch and really proud of him," captain Marsh said of David. "(It takes) complete trust in your game and a real confidence to go out there and do that."

David came in at No.6 when the odds were completely stacked against Australia, but produced the kind of innings that has made him so famous in T20 cricket. The middle-order batter is one of a number of players who look like keeping Smith out of the team, with Marsh coming in at No.3 on Wednesday as David Warner and Travis Head opened.

Tim David and Mitch Marsh, pictured here after Australia's T20 victory over New Zealand.
Tim David and Mitch Marsh celebrate after Australia's T20 victory over New Zealand. (AFP via Getty Images)

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Smith has found form in T20 cricket over the last two years while opening, but with Warner, Head and Marsh all firing it looks like the only way he'll be able to break into the Aussie side is through injury. Josh Inglis came in at No.5 on Wednesday, while BBL superstar Matt Short was slated to come in at No.7.

With Glenn Maxwell a lock at No.4, it's hard to see where Smith fits in. Speaking before the first game, Marsh hinted that Smith would play at some stage during the New Zealand series, however his comments about the top-order being "pretty set" don't bode well for the veteran's World Cup chances.

"I've batted three for the last 18 months so I'll be there," Marsh said in Wellington. "Heady (Travis Head) and Davy Warner have been amazing for us over the last period of time, so I dare say that'll be the top three.

"Whilst we look ahead and it happens a lot ... especially in World Cup years, we're here to win the series. There'll be certain guys that bat in probably different positions ... but ultimately we're here to win."

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Coach Andrew McDonald has since revealed that Smith will play the second match in Auckland, which looms as his last chance to impress before the World Cup. "There's competition for places and that's a good problem to have," McDonald said.

"We're playing him for a reason. If he wasn't in our thinking then he wouldn't be on the plane over here. There's 20-plus players that are in our thinking. We're not settled in terms of the final 15 at this stage and that's why these games are really important.

"He'll get some opportunity here. How he goes in those opportunities, I think will dictate what happens. We'll probably play him in a slightly different role than we've seen ... he's gone to the top of the order in recent times, so batting higher up and I think there's still competition for places. We'll work through to a 15 and give ourselves as many options in that 15 to negate what the West Indies surfaces will challenge us with."

Australia's victory on Wednesday night left the cricket world in awe. However there were still many who weren't happy with Smith not being in the team.

with AAP

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