Auckland: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hailed the perfect finish to his side`s thrilling one-wicket World Cup win over Australia in Auckland on Saturday, saying the game had finished so early a capacity crowd would have plenty of time for a drink.
The Black Caps, making a mockery of pre-match predictions of a high-scoring encounter at the compact Eden Park ground, dismissed Australia for just 151, with left-arm paceman Trent Boult taking a career-best five for 27.
New Zealand were well on course for victory at 131 for four featuring a typically dashing fifty from opener McCullum, before Mitchell Starc, like Boult a left-arm seamer, sparked a dramatic collapse that reduced the home side to 146 for nine as he returned a career best 6-28.
But Boult, in on a hat-trick, survived Starc`s final two deliveries of the 23rd over.
Then, with six needed to win, Kane Williamson (45 not out) drove the next ball, from Pat Cummins, high over the rope to set the seal on a sensational match.
"It was one hell of a game," said McCullum after his side`s fourth win in as many Pool A matches saw them become the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals.
"Both teams showed what quality bowlers they have. It was an amazing atmosphere and a great game to be a part of.
"It didn`t go the distance but I`m sure everyone will go home happy. It`s good to see both teams getting 300-plus but sometimes 150 games can be pretty exciting and everyone can go and have a beer now."
"Trent Boult was outstanding for us, and so was Mitchell Starc for Australia.
"Some of the batting wasn`t as good as it should have been but that can happen when you are up against high-class seam bowling."
Meanwhile, a relieved Boult said the elation he felt while bowling was almost trumped by the nerves he suffered while batting.
"Those two deliveries were pretty frightening at the end," Boult admitted, before thanking his fellow bowlers for their contribution to his haul of wickets.
"Dan (Vettori) put in some good work and tied them down nicely. My mindset was to take wickets. I didn`t realise I`d take five but it was nice.
"Everyone chipped in as a group. The bowling unit has been working well for the last year and it has just rolled on."
Australia captain Michael Clarke, playing his first match of the tournament following a hamstring injury, said the visitors` batting had been "horrendous".
"The tension was there all game. It was very entertaining and we would have liked the result to go the other way but credit to New Zealand," said Clarke.
"Our batting was horrendous to put it mildly and Mitchell Starc was a genius," added Clarke, out for 12 on Saturday when he holed out off Boult.
"Both teams will probably say they didn`t bat as well as they`d have liked.
"I thought New Zealand swung the ball really well and executed their plans well. We weren`t disciplined enough with the bat... Kane Williamson was outstanding."