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February 20, 2007
New Zealand 350 for 9 (McMillan 117, McCullum 86*, Fulton 51) beat Australia 346 for 5 (Hayden 181*, Watson 68) by 1 wicket
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Craig McMillan and Brendon McCullum blasted New Zealand to another massive run-chase as they negated Matthew Hayden's 181 and inflicted a cleansweep on Australia at Hamilton. The home team flew to 350 with only one wicket to spare on the back of McMillan's 117 and his 165-run partnership with McCullum.
Their second-innings 340 at Auckland on Sunday - which was the second-highest chase in ODI history - was bettered again as McMillan showed contempt for the Australia attack despite coming to the crease at 4 for 41. He brought up his first limited-overs century since 2002 with two consecutive sixes off Adam Voges' left-arm orthodox spin, reaching the milestone from only 67 balls, which was the fastest by a New Zealander.
He fell with 66 runs needed but McCullum took up the attack and with seven to win off the final over, and with nine wickets down, he launched a Nathan Bracken full toss over midwicket for six from the first ball then slashed behind point for four to win. He had excellent support from Mark Gillespie, who was run out in the 49th over for 28, having brought the target closer with 14 off five Shane Watson balls in the 46th over.
McCullum's unbeaten 86 came from 91 deliveries and he took a back seat for most of it as McMillan showed age and a little time out of the national team had not dulled his skills. He used his feet to meet the pitch of the ball from Voges and smashed two balls over the bowler's head for sixes to bring up his hundred. McMillan began his awesome display back in the 18th over when he cracked Watson for two sixes over long on and his brute strength and footwork allowed him to hammer 13 fours and five sixes in his 96-ball innings.
He freed up his shoulders and used the pace of the ball off the fast bowlers before he began to tire and was bowled attempting a big slog off Watson. Despite some late wickets Australia were unable to capitalise and let New Zealand off the hook once again with loose deliveries and a lack of tight overs at crucial times.
It was the first three-game whitewash Australia had suffered since their tour of England in 1997 and continued Michael Hussey's poor record - four losses from four games - as stand-in captain. Australia's fifth successive failure highlighted the ongoing worries Australia have with their bowlers, as Johnson went for 3 for 81 from his ten overs and Watson took 2 for 88.
Shaun Tait claimed two victims early and bowled some impressive inswinging yorkers near the end and Nathan Bracken was good until the final over but the overall effort would be a concern leading into the World Cup. They should have wrapped the game up after snaring the top four cheaply but McMillan and Peter Fulton refused to give up and added 75 for the fifth wicket, with Fulton (51) doing most of the damage.
It was the first major scare of the day for Australia after Matthew Hayden's total domination in the first innings. Hayden's 181 was the highest score by an Australian in an ODI and was made all the more remarkable as he did his most dazzling work with a broken toe. Australia are unsure how long Hayden will be out of action after fracturing the big toe on his right foot.
A full ball from Gillespie slammed into the top of Hayden's shoe and at the same time he thumped the bat into the foot, meaning he needed a runner from the 39th over onwards. But unlike some batsmen, the need to stand and deliver caused few problems for Hayden, who took the opportunity to stay in his crease and hammer a series of baseball-style slogs over long on and midwicket. He took 79 from 35 balls after Watson began running for him.
His ten sixes were the most by an Australian in an innings as he gorged on a New Zealand attack missing Shane Bond and Daniel Vettori. So impeccable was his timing that he managed one final six off Daryl Tuffey in the 50th over with a one-handed drive over the bowler's head.
Hayden was at his bludgeoning, brutal best and his 166-ball innings eclipsed Australia's previous best, the 173 made by Mark Waugh against West Indies at Melbourne in 2000-01. His best shots were classic Hayden: half-volleys he had scooped up or cross-batted to the on side, but his drives and lofted strokes over the bowlers' heads were also outstanding.
Hayden and Watson added 122 for the first wicket as both pressed their claims to open with Adam Gilchrist at the World Cup. Watson lost the contest when he was lbw for 68 but he was impressive in building his fourth half-century from eight innings opening for Australia in ODIs.
The bowling, however, remains Australia's biggest headache as they prepare for the trip to the Caribbean. New Zealand will depart on one of their biggest highs for many years.
Brydon Coverdale is an editorial assistant of CricinfoFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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