Every time the Kiwis began mounted a serious challenge, they lost a wicket. Skipper Kane Williamson was runout out in a dreadful mix-up with Glenn Phillips for 27 from 56 balls.
“We needed to apply pressure for longer,” Williamson said. “Throughout the series we weren’t clinical enough and credit to Australia, they are always a strong side.
“They have a number of weapons throughout their attack and they bowled beautifully. It’s so frustrating. For us, there were glimpses, but it is about taking it further.”
The decisive moment came in the 46th over when Phillips was caught at deep square leg by Sean Abbott for 47. Abbott threw the ball up as he came perilously close to the boundary rope then stepped forward to take it again, with the third umpire ruling in his favour.
Abbott also followed his remarkable 2/1 from five overs on Thursday as a replacement for Green with 2-31 from 10 overs on Sunday as a replacement for Marcus Stoinis (side strain).
Before play, both teams lined up on the boundary rope and the crowd stood for a minute’s silence to acknowledge the Queen’s passing as her portrait was shown on the scoreboard. The players took the field with black armbands.
To pats on the back from teammates and a hug from former housemate Glenn Maxwell, Finch, walked out for the final time as an Australian one-day player to warm applause.
Then New Zealand formed a line and applauded Finch, with Williamson stepping forward and shaking Finch’s hand, acknowledging the decade of strong service the opener has made to Australian white-ball cricket as a dynamic batsman and captain.
That’s where the sentimentality ended as New Zealand’s quality pace attack squeezed Finch and his teammates.
After a sedate start by Finch, an ambitious drive at a perfectly pitched Tim Southee off-cutter on five resulted in shattered stumps, and it was all over. After 146 one-day matches, including 55 as captain, Finch finished with 5406 ODI runs at 39 with 17 centuries.
The crowd stood and applauded as if Finch had made a century. Later they called for him to bowl the final over. He declined.
Finch’s announcement of his one-day retirement on Saturday was timely. Following a second-ball duck last Thursday, Finch has seven single-figure scores in his past eight one-day innings.
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