Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Australia's batting might gives them series sweep and 100th T20I win

Matthew Short broke New Zealand's opening stand early AFP/Getty Images

Australia 118 for 4 (Head 33, Short 27) beat New Zealand 98 for 3 (Phillips 40*, Johnson 1-10, Zampa 1-20) by 27 runs (by DLS method)

Australia completed a clean sweep of New Zealand in an ominous warning ahead of the T20 World Cup after a comfortable victory in a truncated series-finale at a gloomy Eden Park.

After being sent in amid overcast conditions, Australia made 67 for 2 in the powerplay before showers interrupted play on several occasions as their innings ended at 118 for 4 from 10.4 overs. Australia's disciplined pace bowlers then relished the seaming conditions as New Zealand fell well short of their amended target of 126 from 10 overs.

Both teams took a cautious approach ahead of their Test series starting on Thursday with a number of players resting.

Australia won their 100th T20I and celebrated lifting the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy having dominated the three-match series, which has been vital preparation for both teams as they look to settle on squads for the World Cup.

It was Australia's final hit-out ahead of the tournament in June, while New Zealand are set to travel to Pakistan in April for a five-match T20I series to wrap up their preparations.

Fiery Johnson grabs his chance

With Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood given a breather, left-arm quick Spencer Johnson grabbed his opportunity by bowling with fire to end the three-over powerplay.

Bowling at speeds over 140 kmh, Johnson bowled a nasty short of a length before accounting for the recalled Tim Seifert with a vicious delivery. He then produced an even better delivery that cut back sharply into Glenn Phillips and flew past stand-in captain Matthew Wade behind the stumps.

Johnson backed up in his second over with a menacing mix of short and full deliveries, while fringe quick Nathan Ellis also performed well with tight bowling to underline Australia's bulging pace stocks.

New Zealand struggle despite Phillips' efforts

New Zealand were missing several key batters with opener Devon Conway ruled out due to a thumb injury sustained in game two. But their batting fell off over the past two games played in Auckland.

Batting was not easy on a lively surface as the hosts never really threatened in the chase. Their top order could never get going against Australia's miserly attack and they weren't helped by continually picking out fielders in the deep as the scoreboard pressure mounted.

Much like in game two, New Zealand's hopes rested with Philipps who whacked 40 off 24 balls but he lacked support.

Smith misses out again, Short provides cameo

Steven Smith does not appear to have a place in Australia's first-choice starting XI stacked with power-hitters. He made just 11 off seven balls in game two in a brief innings marked by inventive strokes on almost every delivery he faced.

Smith had another opportunity at the top of the order when David Warner was ruled out with an adductor injury and he started with a first-ball boundary after whacking a bouncer from Adam Milne.

But Smith fell two deliveries later when he nicked off a brute of a delivery that spat off the surface. With skipper Mitchell Marsh resting, batting allrounder Matthew Short was given an opportunity at No. 3.

Fighting for a spot in Australia's T20 World Cup squad, Short unfurled the type of beliggerent batting that has seen him dominate the BBL in recent seasons. He clubbed Trent Boult for a second-ball six before consecutive mighty blows off Milne landed in the crowd in the fifth over.

Short's whirlwind 27 off 11 balls ended when he was undone by a slower delivery from quick Ben Sears.

New Zealand's sloppy fielding rears

New Zealand will want to brush up on their fielding after dropping three catches in Australia's truncated innings. Travis Head was reprieved by Josh Clarkson at backward point and Ish Sodhi at short fine leg in relatively straightforward chances.

New Zealand's misery was compounded by Mark Chapman failing to hang on to a tougher chance at the long-off boundary to give Glenn Maxwell a life on his first ball.

It capped a sluggish series in the field for New Zealand, who also dropped numerous chances in the opening two games. They particularly rued two missed opportunities in game one to dismiss Marsh, who anchored Australia's tense last-ball win with an unbeaten 72.

New Zealand 2nd innings Partnerships

1st19WA YoungFH Allen
2nd10TL SeifertFH Allen
3rd22GD PhillipsFH Allen
4th47MS ChapmanGD Phillips