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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The bar raised even higher but NZ still clear it

In the final Chappell-Hadlee match at Hamilton today Australia's 5/346 from 50 overs featured a magnificent 181 no /166b from Matthew Hayden, the highest ever ODI score by an Australian. Yet it was still not enough to hold New Zealand who recovered from 4/41, then 5/116, to reach 9/350 in 49.3 overs thanks mainly to Craig McMillan (117/96b) and Brendon McCullum (86 no/91b) who put on 165 in 147 b for the 6th wicket.

For all that it was the closest of the three games, but from an Australian perspective the underlying problems revealed in the series, especially the bowling deficiencies, remain. In the tournament the Australian bowlers took 13 wickets (today a wicket fell to a run out) for 836 runs in 752 legitimate balls. Hardly World Cup winning material.

New Zealand seem to have played above themselves and, it goes without saying, must now hope that they can maintain their form in the World Cup. At full strength (and I'm not quite sure what that is given their talented but injury prone playing list) they ought to be a match for any other team they're likely to meet in the Caribbean.

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