Kiwis upstage defending champion Australia in T20 World Cup Loop Jamaica

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SYDNEY (AP) — Devon Conway and Finn Allen plundered 46 runs off the first three overs to set New Zealand on course for a thumping 89-run win over defending champion Australia on Saturday in the opening game of the Super 12 stage at the T20 World Cup.

Less than a year after losing the 2021 final to Australia in Dubai, the New Zealanders dominated immediately after being sent in to bat in overcast conditions and posted 200-3, their highest-ever total in a T20 World Cup game.

Australia were bowled out for 111 in 17.1 overs in reply for their biggest-ever defeat in a T20 World Cup game, with Tim Southee taking the first and the last wickets to secure New Zealand’s first win here in 11 years.

New Zealand’s Trent Boult, second right, is congratulated by teammates after dismissing Australia’s Pat Cummins. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft).

“An outstanding day. Finn set the tone and another class innings from Devon,” New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said. “Something to build on for our next one.”

Conway blazed an unbeaten 92 from 58 balls and hit the last ball of the innings for six. The end of New Zealand’s innings reflected the start, with the opening pair putting on 56 in 4.1 overs before Allen was bowled by Josh Hazlewood.

“Special performance by the boys tonight,” Conway said. “Credit to Finn how he started, he got the momentum going.

“Quite a young guy in his career but he’s explosive, and he’s fearless.”

He certainly was. The 23-year-old Allen, who only found out Friday night that he’d be starting, hit the second ball of the match for a boundary and the third for a six over mid-on, and then drove a boundary straight down the ground as New Zealand took 14 off the first over from paceman Mitch Starc.

They took 15 off the second over, with Conway turning the first ball from Hazlewood to the boundary at fine leg, and continued the onslaught against Australia’s high-caliber pace trio with 17 off the third over, bowled by Pat Cummins.

Allen, who had a reprieve when he was dropped on 19, clubbed 42 from 16 deliveries before he was bowled by a Hazlewood yorker to start the fifth over.

Conway continued in a 69-run second-wicket stand with Williamson, who scored a run-a-ball 23, Glenn Phillips (12) and Jimmy Neesham to keep the run-rate going at 10 per over.

Australia by contrast lost wickets regularly, beginning with the first ball of the second over when David Warner (5) tried to hit across the line against Southee but only dragged it onto his thigh, then the back of his bat and onto his stumps.

Glenn Maxwell top scored for Australia with 28 while Southee (3-6) and Santner (3-31) took three wickets apiece and kept the run-flow down. The lopsided defeat already has Australia under pressure to make the top two in the group and reach the playoffs.

“They got the jump on us early in those first four overs with the bat and we never really recovered,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said. “They were in front of the game the whole way. We were totally outplayed.”

England won the toss and chose to bowl first against Afghanistan in Perth later Saturday in the second game.

The tournament has been running for a week, with eight teams vying for four places to qualify for the Super 12s.

Sri Lanka topped Pool A in the preliminary round and Ireland beat the two-time champion West Indies on Friday to secure second spot in Pool B and join Australia, New Zealand, England and Afghanistan in Group 1 for the second round.

Group 2 is set for a blockbuster opener on Sunday with archrivals India and Pakistan meeting at a sold out Melbourne Cricket Ground in a night match, after Sri Lanka and Ireland have played in Hobart.

Zimbabwe topped Pool B in qualifying and Netherlands placed second in Pool A to join India, Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh in Group 2 for the Super 12 stage that will finish Nov. 6.

The top two teams in each groups will advance to the semifinals, and the semifinal winners will meet in the final on Nov. 13 at the MCG.