Wellington: Skipper Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell smashed half centuries before Ashton Agar spun a web over the Kiwi batsmen to steer Australia to a 64-run win over New Zealand in the third T20I on Wednesday.
New Zealand was 109/3 at one stage, but Agar wreaked havoc and picked six wickets to bundle out the hosts for 144. Agar turned the game in Australia's favour with three wickets in the 13th over.
New Zealand now lead the five-match series 2-1. For James Neesham it was an unforgettable night as he not only went wicketless, but also leaked runs at an economy rate of 15. The all-rounder was also dismissed for a golden duck despite coming in the game on the back of a stellar performance in the second T20I.
Chasing a mammoth 209, New Zealand got off to a bad start as they lost opener Tim Seifert in the second over. Debutant Riley Meredith conceded a six and a four in his first over, but took a wicket off the last ball.
Martin Guptill continued from where he left the other night but Meredith again stole the show when he dismissed skipper Kane Williamson in his second over.
However, New Zealand seemed well on track as the hosts ended the powerplay with 59 runs on board. In the ninth over, Adam Zampa got the wicket of the dangerous Guptill.
Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips then played risk-free cricket to ensure the hosts didn't suffer any more hiccups during the chase. Just when their partnership started flourishing, Agar put Australia in control by dismissing both batsmen in the same over.
The left-arm spinner then dismissed Neesham for a golden duck to end New Zealand's hopes of winning the game. Agar kept accounting for wickets to record best figures as New Zealand folded for 144.
Earlier, Australia had posted 208/4 from their 20 overs courtesy half-centuries from Finch and Maxwell, and a quickfire 43 from Josh Philippe
If Maxwell smashed 28 runs off a Neesham over, it was a welcome return to form for skipper Finch as had faced the wrath of former cricketers in the last few weeks.
Brief Scores: Australia 208/4 (Glenn Maxwell 70, Aaron Finch 69; Ish Sodhi 2-32); New Zealand 144 (Martin Guptill 43, Devon Conway 38; Ashton Agar 6-30).