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The Bulletin by Peter English
February 17, 2005
Australia 214 for 5 (Ponting 98*, Symonds 32, Hussey 31*, Katich 30, Mills 3-44) beat New Zealand 170 (Styris 66, McCullum 36, Kasprowicz 4-29) by 44 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
A novice in Ricky Ponting and an expert in Michael Kasprowicz led Australia to victory in the inaugural Twenty20 international against New Zealand at Eden Park. Ponting sensibly set up a massive total with an unbeaten 98 before Kasprowicz barged in with four wickets as they won by 44 runs in a chaotic experience.
Neither captain was sure of their tactics before the match, but the displays of Ponting and Kasprowicz should be patented for this KitKat cricket. New Zealand needed almost 11 runs an over inside a stadium reverberating like a Linkin Park amplifier, and were bustling at 49 in five overs as Kasprowicz arrived. Owning envious experience of the game from his time in county cricket with Glamorgan, Kasprowicz slipped an outswinging yorker through Stephen Fleming, who had pulled a 148kph Brett Lee thunderbolt for four, and his second delivery removed Mathew Sinclair (49 for 2).
Kasprowicz further dismantled the New Zealand chase in his following three overs as he sent back Brendon McCullum and then captured the crucial wicket of Chris Cairns, skying to Glenn McGrath at midwicket (95 for 5). The Kiwis could not revive from this point as Australia's strangling, fuller bowling continued to contain them. Scott Styris managed to muscle 66 from 39 balls, including five fours and three sixes, but when the required run-rate topped 19 an over with three remaining Australia had sealed victories in the first Test, one-day international and Twenty20 matches.
The only thing holding up the win was Glenn McGrath's cheeky last-ball impersonation of Trevor Chappell's run-up for the underarm. Fortunately McGrath held on to the ball to avoid another Trans-Tasman incident, and returned to his short mark to claim the final wicket of Kyle Mills.
Australia's unique record was set up by an amazing innings by Ponting, whose tentative steps quickly became ones of dominating purpose. He had a patient look early - he even shouldered arms to one ball - before collecting at a one-day international pace and steaming as the innings concluded. Belting four sixes off Daryl Tuffey in the 19th over, he missed his chance for a century when Mike Hussey hit the second-last ball over the boundary. The pair collected 78 in the final 5.3-over surge, and Ponting again had confusing emotions as he left the field.
Sharing an 83-run partnership with Simon Katich, Ponting picked up early boundaries without extravagance but his mood changed when he launched a massive flick over square leg from Jeff Wilson. He finished with eight fours and five sixes from 55 balls, while Hussey's late value was worth 31 from 15.
Splashes of brilliance with bat, ball and in the field combined with the horror of international players slogging and missing throughout the match, but no shots were better for the purists than two Ponting cover-drives for four along the ground. But the dangers of such a high-risk and high-profile experiment without significant preparation were exposed in the opening overs as Australia's top order swung like wrecking balls and madly crashed to 54 for 4.
Andrew Symonds had played ten similar matches in England, and showed punishing power in racking up 32 off 13 balls from No. 3. Mills was blown for three fours and a six before catching Symonds's under-edge with the final ball of the fourth over (46 for 3). Recovering quickly from the pasting, Mills produced a beautiful outswinger to clip Damien Martyn's off stump as he waved a drive. He deserved his three wickets, while Cairns had an important presence in spilling only 28 from four overs.
The New Zealanders embraced the new concept with a throwback to retro body-hugging shirts, terry-towelling hats and facial hair in the early-1980s mode. Craig McMillan sported delicious mutton-chops and Hamish Marshall's frizzy hair, which was more disco '70s, was so big it needed a hay barn.
All the gimmicks suited the rock-festival atmosphere that began in a first-over of mayhem that included a wide, a stunning dropped catch by McMillan, a back-foot six from Michael Clarke and finally his dismissal to a mistimed pull (10 for 1). The pace barely dropped over the next 39 overs, but the style will be rigorously debated.
Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo.
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