Martin Guptill blasted New Zealand to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in the decisive fifth Twenty20 international against Australia to secure a 3-2 series triumph on Sunday.

The Black Caps restricted Australia to 142-8 from their 20 overs after the visitors won the toss and elected to bat in Wellington, with Ish Sodhi taking 3-24.

Guptill (71 from 46 balls) eased any anxiety about a smaller run chase on a pitch being used for the third time this series, with New Zealand claiming victory with 27 balls to spare.

New Zealand's successful chase bucked the series trend of the side batting first winning every game.

Australia captain Aaron Finch said: "We probably just weren't aggressive enough with the bat. We probably let them dictate slightly, but we didn't get enough runs and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

"A couple of us put a fair bit of time into our innings, 20, 30, 40 balls and then to not go on with that it was probably the difference in the game. If one of us gets 60 or 70, that might be a 160-170 score and then you're a couple of good power-play overs away from really squeezing."

Sodhi was named as the player of the series, finishing with 13 wickets at an average of 12.07 across five games.

The win was set up by a disciplined bowling display led by Sodhi, while Trent Boult (2-26 with 10 dot balls) did early damage, Mitchell Santner (0-21 with 10 dots) was tight and Tim Southee (2-38 with eight dots) restricted Australia at the death.

Boult trapped Josh Philippe lbw early before Finch (36 from 32 balls) and Matthew Wade (44 from 29 balls) put together a 66-run second-wicket stand.

Finch, who came under pressure earlier in the series after a poor run of form on the back of the Big Bash League, managed one six and five fours during his knock, while Wade hit two maximums and three fours.

Sodhi got the breakthrough with Finch slicing to Santner at point, leaving Australia 74-2 after 10 overs before the innings fell away, with Glenn Maxwell falling for one, Ashton Agar for six and Mitchell Marsh for 10.

Australia lost 68-6 in the final 10, including being restricted to 36-4 from the last five overs, battling an inconsistent pitch and tight New Zealand bowling.

Devon Conway (36 from 28) and Guptill combined for a 106-run opening partnership in the chase, before Glenn Phillips (34 not out from 16) finished the job.

Guptill blasted four sixes and seven fours in his knock, going at a strike rate of 154.35.

Riley Meredith (2-39) took two wickets in two balls, with Conway caught in the deep by Agar and Kane Williamson trapped lbw for a golden duck, but it was too little, too late.

The defeat compounds a bad 24 hours for the Aussies, after India's Test win over England on Saturday confirmed Australia would miss the Test Championship final.

Black Caps captain Williamson said: "Incredibly hard-fought series and momentum shifts throughout. Then to finish with three games on a surface, try and get a read on it was a real challenge."

Record-breaker Aaron Finch is relishing having fans in attendance when Australia face New Zealand for Sunday's Twenty20 series decider.

Finch hit 79 not out off 55 balls in Friday's series-levelling 50-run triumph to become his country's leading run-scorer in the format, with 2,310 overall.

His four sixes in the final over propelled his side to 156-6 and made Finch the first Australia batsman to reach 100 maximums in T20 cricket.

Finch was the only player who really got to grips with a tough surface, but he was just glad to help make it 2-2 after the tourists had fallen 2-0 behind.

"I've always said I'd rather get a duck and win than get some runs and lose," he said after New Zealand subsided to 106 all out, seamer Kane Richardson (3-19) the pick of the Australia attack as spinners Ashton Agar, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa took two apiece.

"But to get some runs and contribute to a win is really nice. I felt like I was hitting them terribly for a large portion of the innings, but it was one of those wickets where you never really felt totally in, particularly when spin was bowling.

"It was nice to get a few out of the middle towards the end and get us to a decent total."

On the subject of a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions allowing for the return of fans for the final match, he added: "You play professional sport because you love entertaining, you love the atmosphere when you're at the ground.

"I love going to and watching sport, so to have fans at the ground, regardless of whether they're rooting for you or against you, is just brilliant. It provides so much."

Aaron Finch became Australia's record Twenty20 run-scorer with a captain's display as the tourists set up a series decider after a dominant victory over New Zealand in the fourth of five Twenty20 showdowns.

Finch's 79 not out off 55 balls helped lay the foundations for a 50-run triumph, with Australia posting 156-6 in Wellington before bowling out the Black Caps for just 106.

It means the series is now level at 2-2, with Australia having come from two down, and will be settled in the final match on Sunday.

Tim Southee was furious after Finch was given not out on umpire's call following an lbw review in the first over, with his reaction resulting in a formal reprimand for a Level 1 breach of the ICC Code of Conduct.

The fast bowler might have been even more angry had he known the damage Finch would go on to do, the skipper accounting for over half of his side's total to become his country's leading scorer in the format on 2,310 runs.

Finch smashed four sixes off the final over, that explosive spell alone giving him more runs than any of his team-mates, with Marcus Stoinis' 19 the next-best tally.

That fact underlined the tricky nature of the pitch and New Zealand could not get to grips with it as Australia's bowlers made hay.

Kane Richardson took three wickets, while Ashton Agar, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa each contributed two, with Kyle Jamieson – who bowled that expensive over to Finch – providing the only real flourish on the Black Caps' scorecard with 30 off 18 deliveries.

With a thrilling finale in prospect, fans will be allowed to attend the decider in Wellington after a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

Australia avoided suffering a Twenty20 series sweep at the hands of India on home soil thanks to a 12-run victory in the third and final match in Sydney. 

Virat Kohli made 85 from 61 deliveries but India still came up short in reply to the home side's total of 186-5, which was aided by a plethora of mistakes by the tourists in the field. 

Opener Matthew Wade helped Australia post such an imposing target, the left-hander making 80 from just 53 deliveries – his highest score in the shortest format at international level. 

Glenn Maxwell contributed an entertaining 54 after twice being given reprieves; he was firstly dismissed off a no ball from Yuzvendra Chahal on 19, then dropped by Deepak Chahar when he had 38 to his name. 

Maxwell made the most of the opportunities to add 90 runs for the third wicket in partnership with Wade, who was eventually trapped lbw by Shardul Thakur in the 19th over. 

India lost KL Rahul to the second ball of their reply before managing a run and while Shikhar Dhawan (28) and captain Kohli put on 74 for the second wicket, the ever-rising run-rate left the visitors with too much to do in the closing stages. 

Having been inexplicably dropped by Steve Smith early on, Kohli's hopes of a first T20 hundred for his country disappeared when he fell to a smart catch in the deep by Daniel Sams off the bowling of Andrew Tye. 

However, it had been Australia's leg-spinners who were the stars with the ball, Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson combining for figures of 4-44 from seven overs. 

Thakur smashed two late sixes but an equation of 27 from the final six balls was always too much to ask from India's tail, their innings finishing on 174-7. 

The two teams will now switch their focus to Test cricket, as the four-match series gets under way with a day-night contest in Adelaide next week. 

Ravindra Jadeja's explosive lower-order hitting helped India to an 11-run victory over Australia in their Twenty20 series opener.

Jadeja scored 44 off 23 balls in Canberra as the tourists posted 161-7 before restricting Australia to 150-7 in response.

KL Rahul had laid some firm foundations as the opener put on a measured 51 to mitigate the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan, who contributed only one run.

The hosts also kept a lid on Virat Kohli, the India captain caught and bowled by Mitchell Swepson for nine.

Jadeja came to the crease with his side 92-5 in the 14th over and bludgeoned five fours and a six to lift India to a solid total.

He was struck on the helmet in the final over by a Mitchell Starc delivery and, though he initially continued, was replaced by concussion substitute Yuzvendra Chahal instead of taking to the field.

Australia's reply looked to be coming along nicely as D'Arcy Short (34) and Aaron Finch (35) put on 56 for the first wicket. 

Hardik Pandya catches ultimately accounted for both, with dangerous duo Glenn Maxwell (2) and Steve Smith (12) unable to stick around for long.

Moises Henriques' 30 off 20 raised hopes of a revival, but some excellent bowling from Thangarasu Natarajan (3-30) and Chahal (3-25) kept Australia at bay.

The sides meet again in Sydney on Sunday in the second game of a three-match series.

Australia will have to do without "all-time great" David Warner as they take on India in a three-match Twenty20 series. 

Just 48 hours after completing the third and final one-dayer, the two nations must quickly switch their focus to the shortest format. 

Manuka Oval in Canberra stages the opening T20 on Friday before the teams complete the series in Sydney, which hosted the first two ODI fixtures – both won by the home team.

However, Australia lost the finale when without the services of Warner, who is dealing with a groin injury that leaves him battling to be fit for the upcoming Tests against the same opponents.

Captain Aaron Finch admits it is never easy to be without a player of Warner's abilities, albeit the opening batsman's absence offers an opportunity for others with next year's T20 World Cup looming large on the horizon.

"It would be great to have him available, no doubt. But these things happen. Injuries happen. He's an all-time great in one-day cricket, in T20 cricket," Finch said after the third ODI. 

"I don't think there's many better players to have played the game, so any team that he is not a part of is going to be slightly weaker, I think. But we have got guys who can step up and really contribute heavily in that role as well." 

India will be hosting next year's global tournament after the 2020 edition, due to take place on Australian soil, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Virat Kohli leads the tourists but will not be present for the entire Test series that follows; India's skipper is to return home after the opening game to be present at the birth of his first child. 

 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS 

It is not just Warner missing for Australia; pace bowler and vice-captain Pat Cummins is also set to be absent, while Mitchell Marsh is ruled out. 

Marcus Stoinis, meanwhile, is nursing a side strain and Mitchell Starc was not risked in the third and final one-dayer due to a back issue. 

Andrew Tye had already replaced Kane Richardson in the squad while Cameron Green – fresh from making his international debut on Wednesday – could be given further chances for the home side, who will be wearing Indigenous shirts for all three games.

Glenn Maxwell is available too – and is in excellent form with the bat. He posted scores of 45 or more in each of his three knocks in the 50-over games.

RAHUL RIGHT IN FORM

India have a decision to make at the top of the order with Rohit Sharma not available. 

KL Rahul could be used there after an outstanding Indian Premier League season with King's XI Punjab, as he finished the 2020 tournament as the competition's leading run-scorer.

The right-hander has also amassed more runs in T20 international cricket since 2019 than any other batsman from a Test-playing nation, managing 452 at a stunning average of 75.3.

Ravindra Jadeja, meanwhile, is in contention to make his 50th T20 appearance for India, a milestone only seven other players have achieved for the country.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Australia can record three multi-game bilateral T20 series victories on the bounce at home for the first time, having defeated Sri Lanka and Pakistan on home soil in 2019.
- India have registered five victories in their past six T20 outings in Australia (L1); all eight fixtures between these sides in the country have been won after losing the toss.
- Australia have only been involved in one previous men's T20 fixture at Manuka Oval, beating Pakistan by a margin of seven wickets with nine balls remaining in November 2019.
- Kohli has scored more runs in men's T20 games between these sides than anyone else (584); that is the most ever registered against a single opponent in the history of the format.

India claimed a consolatory 13-run win over Australia in the third and final one-day international in Canberra on Wednesday.

Australia wrapped up the series with comfortable back-to-back victories but saw their hopes of a 3-0 sweep dashed by an improved performance from India, who were boosted by batting first after Virat Kohli won the toss.

That allowed a sublime unbeaten partnership of 150 between Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja to lay down a marker, setting the hosts a target of 303.

Aaron Finch (75) and Glenn Maxwell (59) did not lack ambition in pursuit of that total, but India - led by Shardul Thakur (3-51) and Jasprit Bumrah (2-43) - protected their lead, bowling Australia out for 289 to get up and running ahead of the Twenty20 International series starting later in the week.

It had initially looked as though this could be another comfortable outing for Australia as wickets fell around Kohli and the captain was then stopped short on 63 following a successful review.

Kohli, who became the fastest man to 12,000 ODI runs on Wednesday, was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood, claiming the scalp of India's skipper for the third time in this series and the fourth time in his one-day career - a tally only bettered by four other bowlers.

It meant Kohli will finish a calendar year without an ODI century for the first time since 2008 - his debut year - but Pandya (92 not out) and Jadeja (66 no) picked up the slack.

They combined for 12 fours and four maximums to accelerate India to 302-5 and belatedly pose Australia a serious question.

David Warner had set the tone with the bat in the second ODI but missed out with injury here, meaning Marnus Labuschagne moved up to open and made only seven before playing onto his stumps from debutant T Natarajan - India's first powerplay wicket of the series.

Steve Smith, the outstanding centurion last time out, could only muster the same total, too, after sending Thakur through to KL Rahul.

Heavy lifting from Finch kept Australia on course, but attempts to maintain this momentum were disrupted by a further two telling Jadeja contributions.

Shikhar Dhawan caught at the second attempt at long-on as Finch tried to launch the all-rounder over the fence, before Jadeja stooped for a brilliant take himself off new boy Cameron Green (21).

Maxwell's big hitting - his four sixes including one that landed on the roof and another booming reverse sweep - took the result down to the wire, but his departure to a Bumrah yorker left Australia's tailenders with too much to do.

Steve Smith smashed Australia's third-fastest ODI century and Aaron Finch also made a sublime hundred as India were consigned to a 66-run defeat in the first match of the series.

Smith struck a sensational 105 from just 66 balls and Finch crafted 114 in Australia's massive total of 374-6 - their biggest against India in the 50-over format.

David Warner (69) also made the tourists suffer, while Glenn Maxwell bludgeoned 45 from only 19 balls in Australia's second-highest ODI total at the SCG.

Mohammed Shami (3-59) was comfortably the pick of the India bowlers on a painful Friday afternoon in the field.

Hardik Pandya struck a superb 90 and Shikhar Dhawan made 74, but India, returning to action for the first time since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, fell short on 308-8 in reply.

Josh Hazlewood (3-55) and Adam Zampa (4-54) did the damage with the ball for Australia as they started their summer in style to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.


FINCH AND WARNER MAKE HISTORY

Finch and Warner combined for the highest opening stand for Australia in an ODI at the SCG, their 156 surpassing the record of 152 set by Geoff Marsh and David Boon in 1986.

Shami finally got the breakthrough in the 28th over, snaring Warner caught behind after Virat Kohli reviewed, but Finch and Smith dished out more punishment, putting on 108 in just 12 overs.

The brilliant Finch struck two sixes and another nine fours in his fourth ODI century against India, a tally only Ricky Ponting has bettered with six, before the skipper became Jasprit Bumrah's only victim.

SENSATIONAL SMITH AND MAXWELL GO BESERK

While Finch uncharacteristically scored at less than a run a ball, Smith raced to a magnificent hundred which he reached off 62 balls.

Smith failed to hit the heights during the recent Indian Premier League but produced a disdainful knock as he dispatched the tourists' attack to all parts - Yuzvendra Chahal (1-89) conceding the most runs by an India spinner in an ODI.

The imperious Smith hit four sixes and 11 fours as he put on a show along with Maxwell, who treated the crowd to some astonishing innovative strokes in an explosive innings.

HAZLEWOOD AND ZAMPA DERAIL INDIA CHASE

India's run chase got off to a blistering start, Mitchell Starc conceding 20 off an 11-ball first over, but they were struggling on 101-4 in the 14th over - Kohli making just 21 after he was dropped by Zampa on one.

Hazlewood had Kohli caught by Finch at midwicket and the quick also saw the back of Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer.

Dhawan - dropped by Maxwell on 41 - and Pandya - playing as a specialist batsman - gave India hope with a fifth-wicket stand of 128, but spinner Zampa removed both in quick succession and got rid of Ravindra Jadeja in an ultimately comfortable win for Australia.

Aaron Finch hailed Virat Kohli as "probably the best one-day player of all time" as Australia prepare to face India in an eagerly awaited ODI series.

India have not been in action since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but their wait will come to an end at the SCG on Friday.

Australia should be confident after beating world champions 2-1 in the 50-over format in September and both sides will welcome being able to play in front of crowds.

Kohli headed to Australia on the back of being the ninth-highest run-scorer in the Indian Premier League and Australia captain Finch has lavished praise on his opposite number ahead of the three-match series.

"If you look at his record, it's second to none. It really is remarkable," said Finch, who also featured in the IPL. "What we have to keep in mind is that we have to keep looking to get him out.

"When you go away from that and you look to contain players, you can miss a trick. He's probably the best one-day player of all time, so it's about sticking to our plans and being really committed in that regard."

Kohli will be looking not only for a series victory, but also to consolidate his status as the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world in the absence of his injured team-mate Rohit Sharma.

India paceman Jasprit Bumrah, meanwhile, could regain top spot in the bowler rankings, as he only trails New Zealand's Trent Boult by three points.

The two sides, who will wear black armbands in tribute to late Australia great Dean Jones, will be playing for ICC Cricket World Cup Super League points.

 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR AGARWAL

A hamstring injury sustained during the IPL means there will be no Rohit at the top of the India order, so Mayank Agarwal looks set to partner Shikhar Dhawan.

Agarwal failed to show what he is capable of when India were whitewashed by New Zealand in February.

The 29-year-old was in good touch during the IPL, though, scoring 424 runs at an average of 38.54 and making a century for Kings XI against Rajasthan Royals.

KL Rahul is likely to come in down the order, given he will take up the role of wicketkeeper-batsman.

 

WARNER TO MAKE HAY AT HAPPY HUNTING GROUND?

Australia have a formidable recent record at the SCG, winning 11 of their previous 13 ODIs at the famous venue.

They have also come out on top in all but two of their previous 16 encounters with India at the Sydney fortress.

India's last ODI victory over Australia at the venue came in January 2016 and dismissing David Warner cheaply may be key to repeating that feat.

The opener has an ODI average of 57.2 at the SCG, higher than any other player in the men's game from 10 innings or more. Warner has scored two hundreds and a half-century in his last five knocks at the venue.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Kohli is 133 runs away from becoming only the sixth man to record 12,000 in ODIs. 
- India have won 12 of their last 18 ODIs against Australia, including the previous two.
- The tourists have won five of their last seven bilateral ODI series versus Australia, including a 2-1 win in the most recent series on Australian soil early last year.
- Finch is just 17 shy of becoming the 16th Australian to score 5,000 ODI runs. He has not been dismissed for a single-figure total in any of his last 10 ODI knocks.
- Mohammed Shami (50) has taken more ODI wickets since the beginning of 2019 than any other player; Australia duo Adam Zampa and Pat Cummins (43 each) are joint-second.

Delhi Capitals moved clear at the top of the Indian Premier League table courtesy of a resounding 59-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. 

A strong batting performance that benefited from a late onslaught by the big-hitting Marcus Stoinis powered Delhi to 196-4 after they had been put into bat by Virat Kohli.

Prithvi Shaw (42) was the aggressor in an opening stand worth 68 with Shikhar Dhawan, who contributed a more sedate 32 to the cause before departing in the 10th over. 

Rishabh Pant made 37 but it was Stoinis who stole the show in the closing overs, the Australian all-rounder blasting six fours and a pair of sixes as he made an unbeaten 53.

Bangalore's reply simply never recovered after a poor start that saw them slip to 43-3, AB de Villiers among those to fall early. 

Captain Kohli top-scored with 43 before becoming one of four wickets for the excellent Kagiso Rabada, who now has 12 in this year's tournament at an average of 12.50. 

There were two wickets apiece for Anrich Nortje and Axar Patel too, the Royal Challengers eventually finishing well shy on 137-9 from their 20 overs. 

STOINIS STUNS ROYAL CHALLENGERS 

Stoinis had endured a lean spell since starting the new IPL season with 53 against Kings XI Punjab in Delhi's opener.  

He had managed just 16 runs in three knocks since but was back to his destructive best against Bangalore, reaching his half-century off 24 deliveries as he added 89 for the third wicket with Pant.

FINCH SPARED DESPITE R-ASH MOVE

In 2019, Ravichandran Ashwin caused a stir when, as captain of Kings XI, he ran out Rajathan Royals' Jos Buttler at the non-striker's end, the batsman having left his crease before the ball had been delivered.

There was nearly a repeat when Ashwin had a similar situation with Aaron Finch here, but the India spinner opted instead to produce a stare at the out-of-position Bangalore batsman, followed quickly by a wry smile. 

Marnus Labuschagne will have to wait for his T20I debut despite displaying scintillating form in Australia's warm-up for the three-match series against England.

Labuschagne enjoyed a breakthrough series at the highest level last year in England when he starred as Australia retained the Ashes with a 2-2 draw over the course of the five-match rubber.

The 26-year-old has since become a fixture in his country's 50-over side and made a compelling case for honours in the shortest format by blasting 100 off 51 deliveries during Tuesday's intra-squad warm-up game at the Rose Bowl.

However, skipper Aaron Finch is set to remain in situ with David Warner at the top of the order, with Steve Smith settled at three, when the series opener takes place in Southampton on Friday.

"We're pretty settled with how we structure our T20 side at the moment," Finch told a pre-match news conference.

"He played nicely the other day, but I think he might have to wait a little bit longer in T20 cricket.

"He's had an opportunity to bat at the top of the order and he hits the ball in the middle of the bat more often than most other players and hits the ball in the gaps so that's a pretty good recipe for T20 cricket and all cricket.

"He played beautifully the other day for a hundred, it was a great knock."

Although elite sport behind closed doors has swiftly become the new normal in 2020, the prospect of one of sports' oldest rivalries being played out before empty stands is certainly set to jar a little.

Nevertheless, with England recalling Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Sam Curran following their exertions in the Test team, Finch expects a familiar edge to be present.

"The England-Australia rivalry is always huge, regardless of who you’re playing in front of or where you're playing," said Finch. "I think you could play it in the street and it'd still be there. It's just a great rivalry.

"The fact the stands are going to be empty will be a bit different. I think a few of our guys will appreciate it a little bit more than others, but at the same time we’ve probably spent 90 per cent of our careers playing in front of no one, from club cricket, junior cricket, even state cricket at times, so it doesn't change too much."

The last time the sides met in white-ball cricket was in last year's World Cup semi-final, when England stormed to an eight-wicket victory at a typically raucous Edgbaston.

"They blew us out of the water," Finch, who was trapped lbw by Archer for a first-ball duck, recalled.

"It was a tough day, but a different format, so we aren't holding any scars over that."

Aaron Finch made his T20I debut for Australia against England in 2011. Two years later, he made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka. In 2013, he scored 156 runs off 63 balls in a T20I, the highest ever T20I individual score. He was selected for the 2015 World Cup side and scored a century in the first match against England.

In 2018, Finch broke his previous record of the highest individual T20I innings by scoring 172 runs against Zimbabwe. With this feat, he also became the only batsman to score 150+ runs twice in T20I cricket. This was also the highest individual score set by a captain in a T20I inning.

 

Career Statistics (2009-present)

Full name: Aaron James Finch

Born: November 17, 1986, Colac, Victoria, Australia, (age 33)

Major teams: Victoria, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils, Melbourne Renegades, Auckland Aces, Pune Warriors India, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Yorkshire, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, Surrey, Kings XI Punjab.

Batting Style: Right-handed

Bowling Style: Slow left-arm orthodox

Playing role: Opening batsman

 

T20I Career

Mat      Inns      NO   Runs     HS       Ave       BF       SR        100   50    4s    6s  

61         61          9     1989     172     38.25    1276     155.87     2     12   196    92 

T20 Career

Mat      Inns      NO   Runs     HS       Ave       BF      SR        100   50   4s     6s  

284       279       32     8914     172     36.08    6201    143.75     8     60   856   373      

 

Career Highlights

  • Most runs in a T20I inning (172)
  • 2nd most capped Australian (61)
  • 1st player to reach 900 rating points on ICC T20I rankings.
  • 10th all-time in T20I runs scored (1989)
  • Australian T20I player of the year (2014 & 18)
  • 8914 T20 runs at 36.08

Australia ODI captain Aaron Finch hailed the consistency of India skipper Virat Kohli and said the rivalry between the two teams is just as big in limited-overs formats as it is Test cricket.

Kohli made his Test debut nine years ago and has gone on to become one of the game's greatest batsmen, as well as taking on the captaincy across all three formats.

There is little love lost on the field between Australia and India but Finch recognises Kohli's class, saying he is part of a group of players such as Steve Smith, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar who define greatness.

"Every player, regardless of who it is, has a bad series. But very, very rarely do you see Kohli, Smith, even going back Ponting, Sachin, these guys they don't have two bad series in a row," Finch said on the Sony Ten Pit Stop show.

"The pressure of playing for India is one thing but also leading India is another and the way he has done it, so consistently for a long time.

"And taking over from [MS] Dhoni, the leadership, that is huge. The expectations were high and he kept delivering and I think that that is the most impressive thing.

"What has been so impressive for so long is just his consistency across three formats. To be the best player of all-time in ODI cricket is one thing. But then to also be in Test cricket and T20 cricket as a rounded player, that is remarkable."

Australia are scheduled to go head-to-head with India for three T20 matches in October, before beginning a four-Test series in December and rounding out with three ODIs in January next year.

The uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic means no fixtures are particularly set in stone right now, but Finch says the rivalry between Australia and India is hot regardless of the format.

"India and Australia are two very successful teams, two countries that are very passionate about cricket as well. So, it's hard to compare the rivalry [in Tests and ODIs]," Finch told reporters on virtual news conference.

"One is the traditional game of Test cricket and the grind of five days, that mental battle day in day out while one-day cricket is more skill-based obviously, just on that day. If a couple of guys have a great day on the field, it goes a long way in winning the match.

"That said, it's not a case of being less important or being taken lightly because it's ODI or T20 cricket."

The global health pandemic has seen Australia's home ODI series with Zimbabwe, which was scheduled for August, postponed indefinitely.

As things stand, T20 clashes with the West Indies and India in October that precede the T20 World Cup – which could still be rearranged – will be the next assignments for Australia.

But there remains the possibility of limited-overs matches being organised to take place in England, something Finch is preparing for.

"It's a little bit up in the air, just with how quickly everything is changing. In Victoria [where restrictions have been tightened] we are going the other way again," he said.

"We're not exactly sure when our next game is going to be. In our mind we were planning for Zimbabwe, we were planning for England, and all going well, I think that was our next game, that's what we are planning for.

"I am preparing to go to England and play, whether that happens we will wait and see.

"We just have to be really conscious of being ultra flexible. There might be a tour comes up at relatively short notice because we can get there, and that would be brilliant.

"Whatever it takes. The players are all in the same boat. Whatever we have to do to get a game up and going, that is in the best interest of world cricket, we’d be up for that."

David Warner has won the Allan Border Medal for the third time after edging out team-mate Steve Smith by the narrowest of margins.

Australia opener Warner polled 194 votes, one more than Smith, while last year's winner Pat Cummins was also close behind with 185.

Marnus Labuschagne won the award for Men's Test Player of the Year, with Smith again coming a close second, while Aaron Finch claimed the ODI honour for the first time and Warner made it a double by landing the T20I gong.

Warner previously won the Allan Border Medal in 2016 and 2017, with four-time winners Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke the only players to have won the accolade, considered the most prestigious individual prize in Australian men's cricket, on more occasions.

The 33-year-old impressed across all formats during last season, scoring three centuries at the Cricket World Cup at an average of 71.88.

Warner struggled as Australia retained the Ashes in England but rebounded with superb home Test performances against Pakistan, versus whom he scored 335 not out in Adelaide, and then New Zealand.

The batsman's T20 form was spectacular, as he averaged 147.61 in three clashes with Sri Lanka and 140 in another trio of matches against Pakistan, helping him to see off 2019 winner Glenn Maxwell in the voting for the T20 honour in addition to the Allan Border Medal.

Warner and Smith both impressed as they returned from one-year suspensions in 2019 after their involvement in the ball-tampering affair the previous year.

The Australian Cricket Awards are voted for by players, the media and umpires after each Australia game.

Fast bowler Wes Agar was named The Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year, while in the women's game The Belinda Clark Award went to Ellyse Perry, who like Warner is a three-time winner of the top prize available.

The Brisbane Heat missed out on a place in the Big Bash League finals after a seven-wicket defeat to the Melbourne Renegades on Monday.

Aaron Finch led a cool and commanding chase, his 63 not out leading the Renegades to 155-3 after the Heat had set a target of 155 at Docklands.

Only a win would have been enough to secure a play-off place for Darren Lehmann's side, but they failed to make the most of chances in the field, meaning the Sydney Thunder take the fifth and final spot.

With AB de Villiers (six) failing to fire after another top-order collapse, questions will likely be asked about Lehmann's future after a disappointing end to a hugely underwhelming season.

RENSHAW LEADS RESISTANCE AFTER HEAT GO OFF THE BOIL 

The Heat were 1-35 after just 21 balls as they endured another miserable start after winning the bat flip. 

Sam Heazlett's wild slice gave Finch an easy catch, and Ben Cutting, perhaps over-confident after four early boundaries that included two sixes off Will Sutherland (3-30), was lost lbw when teeing up for another big swing. 

De Villiers went to sweep Samit Patel (1-23) only for the ball to cannon off the back leg and into the stumps, and when Chris Lynn was bowled by Nabi (1-23) for the loss of just 14, the Heat's troubles were mounting. 

Renshaw and Marnus Labuschagne began the rebuilding job, the latter digging deep for 28 off 26 deliveries before Jack Wildermuth caught him trying to clear the ropes from Cameron Boyce (1-29). 

Renshaw remained a beacon of resistance, his unbeaten 65 helping the Heat amass a respectable target before he was run out in the final over.

FINCH KEEPS COOL AFTER COOPER TANTRUM

Tom Cooper and Finch made an encouraging start to the chase before the former sent a delivery from Cutting (2-35) to the grateful grasp of Jack Prestwidge at deep midwicket, leaving Cooper visibly fuming as he headed back to the dugout.

The Renegades were 2-44 when Daniel Christian was caught superbly by Renshaw and, when Beau Webster was bowled full and straight by Cutting after making 14, Heat hopes were beginning to rise. 

Finch, though, refused to panic. Australia's Twenty20 and ODI captain showed few signs of wilting in the Heat onslaught, with Nabi's four boundaries helping to keep the pressure off his skipper. 

Prestwidge allowed a Finch drive to slide through his fingers as the Heat found their season slipping away, another mistake on the rope helping Finch bring up his half-century. 

Six more over deep backward square and a drive wide of cover signalled the death knell to the Heat's play-off ambitions and gave the Renegades something to smile about at the end of a difficult season.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.