Kiwi’s seal clean sweep

New Zealand sealed a clean sweep over arch-rivals Australia with a thrilling one wicket one in the last over of the match. After a phenomenal innings of 181 not out by Matthew Hayden powered Australia to an imposing total of 346, superb efforts by Craig McMillan and Brendon McCullum were just enough to get the Black Caps across the line, ensuring that they leave for the Carribean on a high.

From the start New Zealand’s bowlers lacked penetration and looked unlikely to take any wickets. Effectively missing their frontline bowlers, with Bond, Vettori, Oram and Mills all absent, the Australian’s looked in total control from the start of their innings. However, it was not the majestic Hayden who grabbed the initiative, but his partner Shane Watson. Watson looked excellent on both the front and back foot, blasting 8 boundaries and looking particularly strong through the cover point region.

Whilst Watson was rattling along at more than a run a ball, Hayden contented himself to bide his time occasionally cracking the odd poor ball from James Franklin through point. Both of New Zealand’s openers, Tuffee and Franklin, struggled to put the ball in the right places. Franklin in particular, bowled too short, and was thrashed square of the wicket on more than one occasion. Tuffee also initially struggled with his line, but recovered well, to finish his first spell of six overs, having conceeded only 26 runs. It was a fine return for a man who had struggled so badly at Auckland.

However, the introduction of Mark Gillespie into the attack was followed with a string of boundaries from the bat of Watson, who showed now mercy to the paceman’s wayward line and length. Three boundaries disappeared in his first over, and the Australian openers ensured Gillespie’s troubles continued throughout his first spell. The introduction of Jeetan Patel and Scott Styris into the attack helped to reign in the Australian charge. Both bowled accurately, but with no assistance from the pitch, as the visitor’s runrate gradually fell from 6 to 5 and then to 4.5.

Watson’s frustration at being unable to force the pace eventually told, as he was squared up by a straight delivery from Patel, and dismissed lbw, although there were some questions as to the height of the delivery. For Patel, it was just rewards for an excellent first spell. The dismissal, many would have believed, would have been the perfect time to introduce the second power play which Fleming had opted not to take in the 15th over. However, instead, the kiwi captain opted to leave the field back, and return James Franklin to the bowling crease.

Initially the decision seemed a good one. Franklin maintained good lines to both Hayden and Brad Haddin, drawing false shots from both. However, he never truly looked likely to take any wickets, and the period allowed Hayden to quietly accumulate, while Haddin feasted on some terrible bowling from Craig McMillan at the other end. After McMillan’s two overs had disappeared for 28, and Franklin had finished with the respectable figures of 10 overs, none for 43, Fleming was left with no other option than to bring on his final power play, with two established batsman at the crease.

Some tight bowling from Gillespie and in particular Tuffee, managed to keep things from completely blowing out, but the five over period still went for 37 runs, and allowed Australia, and Hayden in particular, to gather some momentum before the death. Tuffee managed to snatch the wicket of Haddin with a well disguised slower ball that was squirted down to mid off. Hayden however, despite a broken foot, courtesy of a Mark Gillespie yorker, prepared to unleash a devastating assault.

He began by twice striking Scott Styris for six over wide long on, before then diving Patel, Gillespie and Tuffee, as Australia’s total ballooned out to a massive score. He was supported by a procession of partners. Hodge, Hussey, White and Voges all answered the call, striking sixes to various parts of the Seddon park ground. But it was Hayden who was the undoubted star of the show. Before the disbelieving eyes of the partisan home crowd, Hayden smout 10 sixes and 11 fours, and none of the New Zealand bowlers could contain him, despite an disciplined bowling performance that saw only 5 extras conceeded. Finally as Hayden struck Tuffee for one final four down the ground, the total rested at 346 for 5, an even greater mountain for New Zealand to climb, than in the previous match.

New Zealand started well in reply, receiving plenty of support from some wayward bowling by Nathan Bracken and Shaun Tait, as 23 runs came from the first three overs. However Fleming, who had looked in good touch with a couple of crisp boundaires of Tait, fell to a stunning catch Tait’s next over, as the big South Australian’s pace induced a leading edge to Brad Hogg at cover. The hero of the previous game, Ross Taylor then fell, tamely chipping back a Bracken slower ball to the bowler, and Scott Styris continued his slow return to New Zealand colours, by edging Mitchell Johnson’s first ball to Brad Haddin behind the stumps.

By now the score fallen to 41/4, and New Zealand looked certain to suffer one of its largest defeats in one day cricket ever. However, the arrival of Craig McMillan and Peter Fulton at the crease signalled the start of a truly unbelievable fightback. After several overs of consolidation, Fulton lead the recovery by taking 15 runs of Johnson’s second over, punctuated by his trademark swivel pull for six. But the real damage didn’t come until the 16th over as Johnson was crunched for 19 runs by Fulton, including a six and 3 fours. Fulton then followed this up with another six and four from the bowling of Shane Watson, bringing up his 50 from just 38 balls and making a mockery of those who said he should be left out of the side because he was unable to score fast enough. But he was soon dismissed, mistiming a drive of Watson, and being caught by Hussey.

Most in the Australian camp would have assumed that Fulton’s dismissal would have been the final blow to a New Zealand run chase that was already struggling. But they didn’t reckon on Craig McMillan. Unconcerned by his side’s seemingly hopeless position at 116/5, McMillan proceeded to slaughter Australia’s inexperienced bowlers. He signalled his intent with two huge sixes off Watson and both he and Johnson copped plenty of punishment, but even the threatening Shaun Tait was dispatched for 2 boundaries in the final over of the power plays.

At the other end, Brendon McCullum’s excellent placement and fast running provided the perfect foil to McMillan’s bludgeoning counterthrust. With those two at the crease, New Zealand actually went ahead of the required rate, as for most of the innings they batted well above 7 runs per over. Hussey, in a desperate attempt to end the chaos, brought on Brad Hogg, but while the left arm wrist spinner managed to bring a modicum of calm to proceedings, he didn’t receive any support form the other end, as first Johnson then the part time spin of Adam Voges was brutally dealth by a man in devastating touch. Two consecutive sixes off Voges over mid on brought up McMillan’s century in just 67 balls, eclipsing Jacob Oram’s 71 ball effort in Perth, as the fastest ever hundred by a New Zealand batsman.

While the removal of Voges from the attack allowed Australia to regain some control, they then promptly ruined it, when both Hogg and Tait bowled 5 wides in consecutive overs. However, with the required run rate to just 6 an over needed to win with 16 overs to go, the retun of Bracken to the crease, and a much improved second spell from Watson, saw the match turn once again. McMillan, visibly tiring, and struggling to deal with a procession of excellent short deliveries, gradually slowed. Brendon McCullum, despite bringing up a 50 that included some excellent shots, the best of which was a straight drive off Johnson, also struggled to find the gaps consistently. The pressure eventually told, as the run rate continued to raise, and McMillan was finally bowled playing a swipe across the line, an ugly end to a sparkling innings of 117.

Franklin fell shortly afterwards, and despite a glorious straight six from Mccullum in the 45th over, when Tuffee was dismissed caught behind off the bowling of Johnson, at looked certain the kiwi keeper would run out of partners with 44 runs required for victory and just 2 wickets left in hand. However, Mark Gillespie had plans to redeem himself after his shocking bowling display, and proceeded to play one of the most unorthodox gems, in the history of one day cricket. In Watson’s final over, Gillespie struck the allrounder for 14 runs, only 2 of which could be said to have come from a genuine cricket shot. Two came from a nicely timed pull to deep midwicket, two more from a french cut to fine leg, a four down to third man from an outside edge, 2 more from a second french cut, and finally a four from a baseball slog that raced down the ground. Gillespie’s bizzare assault left Hussey tearing his hair out, and McCullum shaking his head in amusement.

But things hadn’t ended there. Clearly concerned by the returning Tait’s extreme pace, Gillespie squirted a full ball down to fine leg for four more, and then managed to avoid being bowled by a series of excellent yorkers, as for the first time the run rate fell below a run a ball. As the pair managed to dash through a series of ones and twos, the match looked won. But another twist was in store for the capacity crowd, as Gillespie was run out, badly underestimating Voge’s fielding skills at point, and failing to properly extend his bat as a direct strike sent him on his way for a wonderful 28 off just 15 balls.

The winning of the match was left to McCullum, who after securing the strike for the final over, and needing 7 to win with just one wicket in hand, immediatley flicked a full toss from the normally accurate Bracken over fine leg for six. A nervous wait ensued for the crowd as Hussey brought all his fielders inside the circle. But after one dot ball, McCullum managed to squeeze a full toss between gulley and point for four, to seal a remarkable victory. But despite the heroic’s of New Zealand’s various batsmen, it was the Australian hero Matthew Hayden, who deservedly received man of the match, for the greatest over innings by an Australian batsman in a one day international.

Australia 346-5
Matthew Hayden 181*, Shane Watson 68
James Franklin 0-43, Mark Gillespie 2-83, Jeetan Patel 2-70

New Zealand won by 1 wicket

New Zealand 350-9
Craig McMillan 117, Brendon McCullum 86, Peter Fulton 51
Mitchell Johnson 3-81, Shaun Tait 2-60, Shane Watson 2-88h

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