Lucky moment saved Aussie skipper’s career

Cricket really is a game of inches.

Aaron Finch smacked an entertaining half-century during Australia’s 64-run victory over New Zealand on Wednesday, helping the visitors set an imposing total of 4/208 in Wellington.

But the classy knock almost ended after one delivery, with the cricket Gods gifting Finch an extra life at the crease.

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Black Caps seamer Tim Southee trapped the Australian skipper on his front pad, and most umpires arguably would have raised the dreaded finger.

“Wow, I thought that was plumb live,” former Australian batsman Mark Waugh said on Fox Cricket’s coverage.

“I am very surprised that was given not out. To me that looked just dead.”

Finch is very lucky in the opening over of the match! #NZvAUSpic.twitter.com/lO7dwKz3PL

But Chris Gaffney opted not to award the dismissal, prompting New Zealand captain Kane Williamson to call for the review.

Finch was saved by less than a centimetre — Hawkeye predicted the delivery would have crashed into leg stump, but 51 per cent of the ball was missing the stumps, meaning the on-field decision went unchanged due to Umpire’s Call.

It was the moment of fortune Finch had been praying for, and there’s no denying the explosive right-hander was due some luck.

Australian captain Aaron Finch and teammate Matthew Wade.Source:AFP

He went on to plunder 69 off 44 deliveries in a knock that featured eight boundaries and two sixes.

“It’s just amazing these small moments in your career, moments in games,” Australian great Shane Warne said on Fox Cricket.

“Like that LBW first ball, rub of the green, and since that moment he’s actually looked pretty good.”

Finch had struggled to unearth runs in the game’s shortest format for several months, and hopefully Wednesday’s innings signals a long-awaited return to form for the 34-year-old.

Before the third T20 against New Zealand, Finch’s most recent scores in 20-over cricket were 18, 8, 0, 14, 13, 0, 10, 4, 6, 1 and 12.

It says a lot about Aaron Finch that so many people are willing him to get his mojo back. #NZvAUS

Finch is seeing them like watermelons now. Carting Boult for back-to-back boundaries
😙👌 #NZvAUS

Finch showing that he will captain Aus in the WT20. This innings is what will settle it. #NZvAus

He failed to make an impression during the recent Big Bash League, and was dropped by his Indian Premier League franchise halfway through last year’s tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

But his teammates never doubted a triumphant comeback was just around the corner — even national selector George Bailey backed Finch to lead Australia at this year’s T20 World Cup in India.

“He’s been hitting the ball so well in the nets, we knew he was so close and just around the corner,” Australian batsman Glenn Maxwell said on Wednesday.

“To see him get runs, it’s great to be at the other end and watching him go about his business. He’s so important for us … he was awesome tonight.”

The fourth T20 between New Zealand and Australia will occur on Friday, with the first ball scheduled for 5pm AEDT.

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