NZ Score Record-Breaking Win

After a heartbreakingly close loss in Wellington in similar circumstances on Wednesday, New Zealand have broken the record for the highest run chase in ODI history, chasing down the daunting target of 332 with two wickets in hand.

Once again, the game started well enough for New Zealand. After Daniel Vettori won the toss and elected to bowl, Adam Gilchrist’s bad tour got even worse as he was out for a duck in the first over of the match, lbw to Kyle Mills. It got even better just seven runs later when his opening partner Simon Katich edged a ball from Chris Martin to the slip cordon where it was well caught by Scott Styris.

But then Australia once again fought back with a big partnership. This time it involved Ricky Ponting and Brad Hodge. The two put on 115 for the third wicket in quick time, including some spectacular strokeplay by Ponting in his innings of 75 from just 57 balls. The partnership was finally broken in a superb over by Vettori, as first Ponting and then Wellington star Andrew Symonds for just one were dismissed in the over, leg before and caught by Mills respectively.

Hodge continued after the loss, and although the partnership was dominated by Michael Clarke, he steadily accumulated runs and reached his first ODI half century. He reached 59 before being caught on the boundary by Mills, the score a slightly shaky 177-5. But, as is so often the case, Australia produced another good partnership, this time Clarke and Mike Hussey. Hussey started cautiously, scoring just 14 in his first 28 balls, but what was to follow was a very different approach.

Clarke, meanwhile, continued to play aggressively and scored at almost a run a ball in reaching 71 before becoming Chris Martin’s second victim, Mills taking yet another catch and the score at 259-6. That became 7 and Martin’s tally went to three as Cameron White was out first ball, brilliantly caught by Vettori.

But then Hussey decided that despite the fact that his average stood at a more than healthy 129, he still had to impress us all some more. In the second 28 balls of his innings he scored an incredible 74 runs, with seven fours and five sixes, as the score went from something defendable to something requiring an incredible effort from New Zealand to chase it. In all, 71 runs were scored in the last four overs, as the Jade Stadium stands and the bowlers’ figures took a pounding. Even Nathan Bracken joined in the fun, scoring an unbeaten 21 from 12, as the Australian score surpassed that of Wednesday’s match and reached 331-7, a position from which the visitors would quite rightly feel quite confident of achieving a win.

New Zealand’s bowling figures made for ugly reading. Chris Cairns conceded 61 from his six overs, Jacob Oram 69 from his eight, Mills 64 from ten and Martin, despite taking three wickets, 65 from ten. Vettori was superb once again however, with magnificent figures of 2-37 from his ten. Scott Styris, mysteriously, only bowled seven overs, returning figures of 1-31, tidy enough considering the size of the team score.

The New Zealand openers, Lou Vincent and Stephen Fleming, came out needing a very strong start. But they didn’t get it, as an obviously short of match practice Fleming was out caught behind off Bracken for nought from nine balls. Nathan Astle’s poor recent form continued, as despite at one point hitting two fours in a row, he could manage only 14 before being caught at slip off the bowling of Stuart Clark, at 50-2 not quite the start they were hoping for.

Vincent though looked to start in the same way as he so successfully did at the Cake Tin, swinging aggressively and hitting six fours and a six in a speedy 39 before falling to the same bowler, caught by the man with the average of 150, Hussey.

A promising partnership followed however, as Styris, who has looked promising without achieving much success in the series, and the struggling Hamish Marshall tried to rebuild the innings. They were assisted though it must be said by some poor throwing by the Australian fielders, with as many as seven possible run out opportunities missed through poor throws in the innings. The two batsmen put on 88 runs, and were starting to lift the run rate with some big overs, in particular one worth 19 off debutant Mitchell Johnson and 12 off a Symonds over, before Marshall’s 27, indicating a slight return to form, ended in slightly unlucky fashion as he edged a ball from White on to his thigh and back on to his stumps.

Styris was finally having a good day though. He brought up his fifty at a good rate, and then sought to not only hit to the boundary but clear it. He hit a powerful, flat six off Symonds and then a towering straight hit off White as he moved into the sixties at better than a run a ball. But he needed support at the other end, something Craig McMillan was unable to provide, caught behind off Symonds for 11 and the team in a bit of trouble at 179-5. And not long afterwards, Chris Cairns followed him to the pavillion, caught behind off Mick Lewis for just 6, leaving New Zealand at 194-6, close enough to the run rate but struggling in terms of wickets.

But Styris continued to play well, moving into the nineties as the score passed 210. After several overs in which singles were the only quantity of runs available, Oram finally got his innings properly underway with a lofted cover drive for four, leaving New Zealand requiring 101 from the last 60 balls. Oram really started to get going in the 41st over, hitting a one bounce four then a big six over midwicket to give the home team a great start to the death stages and the fifty partnership with Styris.

The next over, Oram hit a massive six off Johnson, so big it landed on the roof of the stand making a replacement needed. And finally, after a long stay in the nineties, Styris finally reached his century, but at the same time the rain started to fall. The Duckworth-Lewis calculators came out, and New Zealand were said to be slightly ahead. But then Oram fell, hitting the ball onto his own stumps for a great 42, and when Styris fell for 101 just a couple of balls later, New Zealand were eight down and well behind in the calculations.

The rain eased though and Brendon McCullum started his innings brightly with a four and a big six, well supported with some quick running by Vettori. The partnership continued with some quick running and another six that briefly threatened to be catchable before landing safely in the crowd, and with four overs left 42 runs were neeeded.

The 47th over started with a single and then McCullum smashed a cover drive for a one bounce four. Then a dot ball and a bit of luck as a top edge was narrowly missed by a diving Ponting, and an identical cover drive followed. There was another near heart attack for New Zealand supporters on the last ball of the eventful over as an amazing diving catch by Symonds was just put down.

After the two fours it was down to 30 from 18, and after a dot ball McCullum played his favourite cover drive again and this time it didn’t even touch the field, landing in the crowd. More tension followed as a swing and miss and then yet another missed run out opportunity were involved in the following balls, but the total for the over reached 10, exactly what was required.

20 from 12. Vettori looked for and got a single from the first ball to get McCullum, who had already reached the forties at an amazing rate, back on strike. 19 from 11. Full toss from Lewis, in the right spot for McCullum to hit another cover drive, six more runs as the ball landed once again in the stand. 13 from 10. A bit of an anticlimax next as McCullum took a single, but it brought up a 25-ball half century, one of the great innings under pressure.

Vettori didn’t want to be left out of the fun. He hit a leg side full toss for a flat six, and New Zealand were in charge, 6 from 8. Then a four next ball, 2 from 7. An expensive over from Lewis, 18 so far, got even worse as a wide followed next ball to tie the scores. And with a Vettori single next ball, the world record score in a run chase was broken as New Zealand reached 332, to win an amazing match by just two wickets. McCullum finished on 50 from 25 and Vettori 23 from 12, a partnership of 74 runs in ridiculously quick time.

Australia 331-7
Mike Hussey 88no, Michael Clarke 71
Daniel Vettori 2-37, Chris Martin 3-65

New Zealand 332-8
Scott Styris 101, Brendon McCullum 50no
Stuart Clark 4-55, Nathan Bracken 1-41

New Zealand won by 2 wickets.

Cricket Web Player of the Match
Scott Styris – 101.

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