Head smashes hundred on his comeback as Australia win thriller against New Zealand

Opener returns from injury to hammer a ton in highest-scoring game in World Cup history

Travis Head of Australia celebrates after reaching his century in the Cricket World Cup game against New Zealand in Dharamsala. Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

Travis Head's rapid hundred trumped Rachin Ravindra's gallant 116 as Australia beat New Zealand by five runs in the highest-scoring match in World Cup history to stay on course for a semi-final slot in the 50-overs tournament on Saturday.

Head, who missed the first five matches of the tournament with a broken hand, smashed 109 off 67 balls and forged a breakneck 175-run opening stand with David Warner (81) to propel Australia to a commanding 388 all out at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium.

Glenn Maxwell (41), Josh Inglis (38) and skipper Pat Cummins (37) provided breezy cameos down the order before Australia were all out in 49.2 overs.

Glenn Phillips was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 3-37, while Trent Boult took 3-77 and Mitchell Santner 2-80.

Ravindra led New Zealand's spirited reply with his second hundred of the tournament and Daryl Mitchell made 54 to steady their innings.

The 2019 runners-up looked out of the contest after Ravindra fell in the 41st over but James Neesham injected fresh drama with a never-say-die 58 but it was not enough in the end as New Zealand ended just short of their target on 383-9.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa took three wickets for 74 runs, while Josh Hazlewood and skipper Cummings picked up two scalps apiece.

Player of the match Head said: "Nice to be back, it was very close in the end, a hell of a game.

"I've only had a couple of hits, a bit like the Test championship where I was off for six or seven weeks. It's still early days but it's nice to be back.

On his partnership with Warner he said: "We play together really, really well, we combine really well. Play what comes towards us, try and play positive and do what we can."

Australia captain Cummins said: "That was awesome. Sometimes I have to remember I'm out in the field, not a spectator. A fantastic game, they kept coming at us.

"I love the openers, especially Trav who's been away for five weeks. They showed intent, we want to take the game on.

"That was a good wicket. In patches we bowled really well, sometimes we gave too much width away. Some really good partnerships, it was tough to get into them.

"Marnus threw himself round. It's not the easiest fielding ground, but it made a big difference.

"We'll enjoy this one and get stuck in on the back end."

New Zealand captain Tom Latham said: "It was a fantastic game of cricket. There were ebbs and flows throughout the 100 overs. Obviously to get so close hurts. It was a fantastic game.

"The Aussie openers played fantastically well. We were on the back foot straight away. We wanted to take wickets and contain them as much as we could. Everything we through down tended to hit the middle of the bat. We were able to pull it back but they had a couple of key partnerships at the end."

On Ravindra's innings, he added: "You need to play the perfect game when you are chasing near 400. They put us off to a fantastic start and it was a fantastic knock from Rachin [Ravindra] - one of the better ones you'll see in a chase. It was pretty special to get close. I'm proud of the guys."

Updated: October 28, 2023, 1:41 PM