The New Zealand Under-19 team have been unable to make a winning start to their Tri-Series tournament in Darwin, going down to hosts Australia by 19 runs.
Set 226 for victory from 50 overs at Marrara Oval, the New Zealanders were in control of their chase for much of the innings, but fell apart towards the end and were eventually dismissed for 206 with four balls remaining.
Despite all making starts, the top-order were unable to solidify a platform until the arrival of Ken McClure (61) at the crease. Between himself and Leo Carter (33), the pair put on 85 for the fifth wicket and had New Zealand seemingly on track for victory at 178 for four.
Unfortunately though they couldn’t hold on to that momentum, as a break through by Australia’s Jake Doran began a six wicket collapse for just 28 runs. Matthew Fotia was the bowler who did the most damage, picking up figures of five for 38 from 9.2 overs.
Earlier, an impressive display in the field had kept Australia to 225-6, despite the hosts keeping wickets in hand for much of the innings on a fine deck.
While not picking up regular wickets, all the bowlers were economical. Openers Kyle Jamieson and Nick Blundell both went at less than four runs per-over, while spinner Dane Watson also tied down an end well.
It was part-timer Carter though who led the wickets column, taking figures of two for 22 from four overs.
Young Jake Doran was the most damaging of the Australian batsman, putting on a superb knock of 79* from 80 deliveries. It left New Zealand with an attainable total to strive for, but they came up just short.
The team now play Papau New Guinea in a friendly tomorrow, before resuming their Tri-Series against India on Thursday.