Star performances by Scott Kuggeleijn and Sean Solia helped New Zealand A claim a memorable 225-run victory at Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Thursday in the first of two first-class matches against Australia A.
The visitors found themselves behind the game after being dismissed for 147 in the first innings after lunch on Day 1, however a player of the match performance by Kuggeleijn helped turn the tide.
The 31-year-old claimed his 10th First Class five-wicket haul in Australia A’s first innings (5-74), before smashing an unbeaten 101* off 85 balls with the bat to help push the visitors into the ascendency.
Sean Solia (91), Muhammad Abbas (55) and Tom Bruce (51) helped push NZ A through to (468) to set the hosts a challenging 322 final-innings run-chase.
Kuggeleijn went on to take 4-39 in the final innings which catapulted him to career-best figures of 9-113.
The bowling efforts were supported by Solia (3-15) and New Zealand A had the hosts dismissed for 127/9 (Joel Paris retired hurt).
Solia said the team were thrilled with their ability to turn the game around.
“We were preparing for a big stint on Day 4 with Aussie needing 320 odd, so when we wrapped it up just after lunch the boys were pretty excited, especially to beat them in their home conditions and take the series lead,” he said.
“We were disappointed as a group to get bowled out for 147 on Day 1 but we all got around each other and kept the positive mindset that we could turn the game around and it was a good fight from the boys.
“We’ve had four winter camps to prepare for this series so we’ve been working hard and it’s paid off with this result.”
Solia credited the all-around team performance.
“It was pleasing to put on some good performances up with both the bat and the ball but it was made a lot easier with this group that we’ve got here, all believing in each other to get into a winning position after that first innings.”
New Zealand A travel to Mackay today ahead of the next pink-ball day-night match starting on Monday.
New Zealand A v Australia A
Monday 4-Thursday 7 September – 2nd Four-Day match v Australia A – Harrup Park
Sunday 10 September – 1st One-Day match v Australia A – Harrup Park
Wednesday 13 September – 2nd One-Day match v Australia A – Allan Border Field
Friday 15 September – 3rd One-Day match v Australia A – Allan Border Field
The remainder of the tour will be broadcast live in New Zealand on Sky Sport.