Australia v New Zealand, ICC Champions Trophy, final, Centurion

New Zealand suffer Vettori blow

Osman Samiuddin in Centurion

October 5, 2009

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Daniel Vettori at a pre-match press conference on the eve of the ICC Champions trophy final, Centurion, October 4, 2009
Daniel Vettori's tournament came to a sad end due to a hamstring injury © Getty Images

New Zealand, dogged by injury throughout the Champions Trophy, received the biggest blow on the eve of the final when Daniel Vettori, their captain and leading performer through the tournament, was forced out of the game with a hamstring injury.

New Zealand, severely depleted already, will miss Vettori's left-arm spin on a pitch that is expected to take turn, as well as his assured presence in the lower middle order. The value of Vettori's allround performance - 3 for 43 and a vital 41 off 42 balls in a nervy run-chase - was fully seen in their semi-final win against Pakistan.

Vettori is New Zealand's leading wicket-taker in the tournament with seven and leads their batting averages. Such were the expected conditions in Centurion, Vettori had hinted on the eve of the final that New Zealand might consider playing two spinners; as a result of the injury, Jeetan Patel was named in the starting line-up as the only spinner.

New Zealand's run to the final has been made all the more credible, given the injury list they have built up. Before Vettori, at various stages in the tournament, they have lost key players in Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder and Daryl Tuffey. Ian Butler missed the first game with an intestinal infection and Grant Elliott has played the last two games with a thumb injury.

In his absence, Brendon McCullum took over to lead the side for only the second time in ODIs. His first match as captain also came earlier this year, against India in March.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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