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February 3, 2009
New Zealand's young players have gained a heavy dose of confidence from their last-ball victory in the first ODI and are hoping to inflict further damage on Australia after they decided to rest Ricky Ponting. Instead of being over-awed by the hosts in Perth on Sunday, the visitors stuck together and rode to victory with fine performances from Ross Taylor and Kyle Mills.
They will take a 1-0 lead into the second game of the Chappell-Hadlee Series in Melbourne on Friday and the coach Andy Moles is aiming for more. "A lot of these young players dream of coming to Australia and winning a one-day game," Moles told NZPA. "To win the first one, it sets up the series.
"We came here with a belief and a plan that we could play well against Australia and our younger players will take a lot of strength from it. We're moving forward with a lot of confidence and we believe we can put another performance on top of that one."
The squad received another boost when Brendon McCullum was cleared for Friday's game after picking up a hip flexor injury last week. McCullum, who was unlucky to be lbw second ball in Perth, took the gloves in the first match and the problem has responded well to treatment.
Gareth Hopkins, the reserve wicketkeeper, will fly back to New Zealand to appear in provincial Twenty20 matches on Wednesday and Friday. However, he could return if McCullum suffers any more problems over the next two ODIs.
Ponting will miss the second and third games to rest and the local selectors' decision is one that gives New Zealand hope of further success. "Any Australian side who doesn't have Ponting in it is going to be a weaker side," Moles said. "He's got over 300 ODIs and he's a huge talisman for them."
Despite the side's opening win, Moles said the batting must improve over the rest of the series. New Zealand were 3 for 25 in the 14th over before scrambling to 8 for 182. "It's about getting these young guys to have belief in their performance and the belief they can win these games," he said. "We're still not anywhere near the quality we want, day in, day out, over the whole game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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