Cricket: Kiwis through to World Cup q-finals after exciting one-wicket win over Aussies

New Zealand's Brendon McCullum plays a shot during the Pool A 2015 Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland on Feb 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum plays a shot during the Pool A 2015 Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland on Feb 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

AUCKLAND (AFP) - New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hailed the perfect finish to his side's thrilling one-wicket World Cup victory over Australia in Auckland on Saturday, saying the game had finished so early a capacity crowd would have plenty of time for a drink.

The Black Caps, making a mockery of pre-match predictions of a high-scoring encounter at the compact Eden Park ground, dismissed Australia for 151, with left-arm paceman Trent Boult taking a career-best five for 27.

New Zealand were well on course for victory at 131 for four featuring a typically dashing 50 from opener McCullum, before Mitchell Starc, like Boult a left-arm seamer, sparked a dramatic collapse that reduced the home side to 146 for nine as he returned a career best 6-28.

But Boult survived Starc's final two deliveries of the 23rd over.

Then, with six needed to win, Kane Williamson (45 not out) drove the next ball, from Pat Cummins, high over the rope to set the seal on a sensational match.

"It was one hell of a game," said McCullum after his side's fourth win in as many Pool A matches saw them become the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals.

"Both teams showed what quality bowlers they have. It was an amazing atmosphere and a great game to be a part of.

"It didn't go the distance but I'm sure everyone will go home happy.

"It's good to see both teams getting 300-plus but sometimes 150 games can be pretty exciting and everyone can go and have a beer now."