Taylor stars as New Zealand chase down 337
New Zealand 340 for 5 (Taylor 117, Fulton 76*, McMillan 52, Watson 3-58) beat Australia 336 for 4 (Hussey 105, Hodge 97*) by five wickets
Australia fell from their No. 1 one-day ranking for the first time as Ross Taylor, Peter Fulton and Craig McMillan propelled New Zealand to their huge target of 337 with an over to spare to secure the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. Taylor's century bettered the one Michael Hussey had made to set up Australia's total, which until New Zealand's chase was the highest ODI score at Eden Park.
Taylor built the platform for the second-highest successful chase in limited-overs history with 117 before Fulton, and in particular McMillan, hammered Australia to all parts of the ground in the dying stages. McMillan's 52 from 30 balls was telling after New Zealand went into the last ten overs with 91 needed.
He put the home side in touch with three consecutive fours off Shaun Tait and Fulton followed up next over with two slog-swept sixes off Brad Hogg to haul in the required run-rate. The second of Fulton's sixes was caught on the boundary by Cameron White but he was unable to counter the backwards momentum and stepped on the boundary.
White and Hogg, Australia's two spin options, were the most costly as their combined ten overs cost 87 runs. White struggled to find his line and length and Hogg at times bowled too straight and suffered from the late aggression by Fulton and McMillan. Australia's fielding was also sub-par and Phil Jaques' dropped chance on the boundary when McMillan was 5 proved vital.
As if in response to recent criticism of his bowling, Shane Watson was the most dangerous and without his 3 for 58 the result could have been even more embarrassing. The loss was Hussey's third from three games as Australia's captain and means South Africa will jump to the No. 1 place in the limited-overs rankings. It is the first time since the current system was introduced in 2002 Australia have fallen from top spot.
Taylor's second ODI century came up with a beautifully-timed off drive that continued his trend of finding the boundary through conventional, low-risk shots. He dispatched White for three consecutive fours through cover and his only six was a cracking pull from a White long-hop.
Most of Taylor's best shots were traditional drives and flicks through the on side. He used Tait's pace against him to help the ball on its way and finished with 16 fours. He departed when he was deceived by a Watson slower ball and skied an attempted slog to Hussey at midwicket. Australia's stand-in captain made the high chance look easy and pumped his fists when he thought the danger man was gone.
But Fulton, who had until then taken a back seat, lifted his game and finished with 76 from 65 balls. Brendon McCullum and Fulton sealed the win after McMillan was caught trying for another boundary.
Hussey and Brad Hodge dominated the Australia innings and set what looked like an imposing target. Hodge was stranded just short of a century for the second time in five matches - he finished on 99 against New Zealand at Melbourne two weeks ago - and White bludgeoned a late 42 from 19 balls to help the cause.
Hussey again batted at No. 4 and took full advantage of the short boundaries. He brought up his second limited-overs century with a sensational string of three sixes in four balls off the part-time medium-pace of Lou Vincent.
The hundred took him 81 deliveries and included six sixes and eight fours and despite his high strike-rate he rarely looked like mis-hitting a ball. Hussey picked up the length easily and, especially off the medium-pacers, had no trouble clearing the ropes over the on side. The six to bring up his century was one of his best as he went down on one knee and swept Vincent over midwicket.
Hodge took few chances but scored at better than a run a ball and added 84 in the final 45 deliveries with White. But for the second time in as many games New Zealand's decision to field first paid off and Fleming lifted the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in his own right for the first time.
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Brydon Coverdale is an editorial assistant of Cricinfo