The BLACKCAPS re-wrote the history books for the second time in 72 hours, but this time they ended up on the winning side.
They sealed the biggest winning run chase in One-Day International history as they claimed a two-wicket victory over Australia with an over to spare in the third and final 2005 Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series at Jade Stadium, Christchurch.
Captain Daniel Vettori, 23 not out, hit the winning run, but it was Scott Styris and Brendon McCullum who top-scored as BLACKCAPS broke went one better than their historic Wellington run chase. Styris hit 101 from 96 balls before Andrew Symonds picked up an outside edge from Stuart Clark’s bowling, while McCullum thrashed 50 off 25 balls.
Supporting roles for Lou Vincent (39) and Jacob Oram (42) edged the BLACKCAPS nearer their unlikely goal.
Chris Martin took three wickets on his BLACKCAPS return, accounting for Simon Katich and taking Michael Clarke and Cameron White in successive balls in his first limited-overs international since February 2001.
Kyle Mills dismissed Adam Gilchrist for a duck and took three catches as Australia made 331 for seven from their 50 overs.
Michael Hussey was the visitors’ top-scorer, his 88 not out coming from 56 deliveries and including five sixes to boost their final total.
On his return, Stephen Fleming was substitute but fell without scoring, caught by Adam Gilchrist from Nathan Bracken’s bowling.
Vettori won the toss and elected to field and his team enjoyed another flying start. Gilchrist, enduring a torrid series at the crease, lasted only three deliveries before being trapped lbw without scoring.
Ricky Ponting has grown accustomed to entering the fray early. But he barely settled when Simon Katich went for two, becoming Martin’s first international limited-overs victim in almost five years when Styris took a catch in the slips.
Ponting required 77 from his innings to become Australia’s highest-ever run scorer in limited-overs internationals. However, he was cut tantalisingly short, ruled out lbw to Vettori for 75, leaving him one short of Mark Waugh’s record.
His dismissal brought Symonds to the middle, but the hero of Wellington was brought down to earth when Vettori’s shrewd placement of Mills at mid-off paid dividends to dismiss him for a solitary run.
With Australia four down for 124, Michael Clarke came in to join Brad Hodge. Hodge collected his maiden One-Day half-century, but went for 59, Mills again catching, this time at deep forward square leg off Styris. Clarke maintained his impressive form, but Martin ended Clarke’s knock at 69 via Mills’ third catch before Vettori caught out White next ball.
Hussey, though, closed the innings emphatically and Bracken provided support with 21 not out in an unbeaten 72-run eighth-wicket stand. Following his 71 at Wellington, Lou Vincent again took the game to Australians. The Aucklander led the way, scoring at a rate of knots even before Fleming was dismissed.
He ultimately claimed 39 from only 33 balls, but was caught out by Hussey when he attempted another big strike from a Stuart Clark delivery. That was Clark’s second wicket of the innings, having taken Nathan Astle’s wicket for 14, Cameron White taking the catch.
Styris and Hamish Marshall created a resolute partnership of 87 before the latter was dismissed playing on to his wicket from a troublesome White leg break. Veterans Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns went quickly; caught behind to Symonds for 11 and Michael Lewis for 6 respectively.
But all-rounders Styris and Oram forged a solid partnership, the latter marking the achievement by opening the 42nd over with a massive six. The rain started to fall as the towering Oram aimed to push on, but looking to add vital runs, he played a Clark ball on to his wicket. A vital innings of 42 pushed the BLACKCAPS closer to their goal, but Styris went soon afterwards.
Vettori and McCullum were reunited aiming to replicate the crucial partnership they forged 72 hours earlier.
But this time, they hung on to give their team a memorable victory. It gave the series a 2-1 final score and bolstered the BLACKCAPS’ place in the ODI rankings table ahead of Sri Lanka’s arrival later this month.
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