Australia complete record-breaking T20 chase of 244 to beat NZ
Martin Guptill's 54-ball 105 proved in vain as Australia pulled off a remarkable, record-breaking chase to beat New Zealand in the trans-Tasman T20 series and keep England's hopes alive.
Guptill and opening partner Colin Munro (76 off 33 deliveries) were chiefly responsible for guiding the Black Caps, who would have joined Australia in the final with victory, to a mammoth total of 243-6 at Eden Park.
Yet Australia sensationally completed the highest chase in T20 internationals with seven balls to spare, after D'Arcy Short (76 off 44) and skipper David Warner (59 off 24) had set the tone at the top of the order.
Aaron Finch (36 not out off 14 balls) finished things off with the 32nd six of the match, a startling statistic that owed much to the short boundaries in Auckland.
Andrew Tye's four overs for Australia cost an eye-watering 64 runs, but did at least yield two wickets, while New Zealand seamer Ben Wheeler fared even worse, conceding 64 from just 3.1 overs before he was taken out of the attack for bowling two high full-tosses.
England will now have the chance to overhaul New Zealand when the two teams meet in the final group match in Hamilton on Sunday.
New Zealand opted to bat first and Munro made the biggest contribution to an opening stand of 132 in just 10.4 overs with Guptill, the former blasting six fours and as many maximums after an early let-off at the hands of Tye, who spilled a return chance off his own bowling.
Munro went on to hit three successive sixes off Tye before being caught at long-on seeking a fourth. Guptill then raised his tempo, despite losing partners on a regular basis, as he brought up his second T20I hundred and replaced former Black Cap Brendon McCullum as the record run-scorer in the format, also breaking his ex-team-mate's record for the fastest century by a New Zealander, bringing up three figures in 49 balls.
In the context of a match that ultimately featured 488 runs, Ashton Agar's return of 1-24 from three overs was arguably the most impressive statistic of all.
A daunting target duly proved within Australia's reach, thanks largely to Short - who was given an early life - and Warner taking a staggering 91 off the first six overs.
From that point on, Australia always looked likely to make it home and they did so with comfort as Glenn Maxwell (31 off 14) and Finch excelled amid Wheeler's misery.