Ricky Ponting believes Australia have "no excuses" for not overcoming New Zealand on Wednesday and booking a place in their first Champions Trophy final. Shane Watson, who needed a runner to complete his half-century in the victory over India, has been passed fit while Michael Clarke's recovery from tonsillitis was not disrupted by playing in Sunday's game.
"There are no excuses now for us," Ponting said in The Australian. "We've got a good team, we've got a full list of guys to pick from and we're playing a semi-final at a venue that we've just played a game on. We can't complain with the way things have worked out for us."
New Zealand have become an easy target for Australia over the past five years - they have beaten them in 15 of the past 17 occasions - but Ponting was wary of Stephen Fleming's multi-purpose men. "Their strength over the last couple of years in their one-day cricket has probably been they have lots of allrounder sort of players," Ponting said. "They've had [Scott] Styris and [Jacob] Oram, and Fleming has done a good job for them here in a couple of games.
"They just really enjoy playing one-day cricket and they haven't got much Test cricket coming up and they haven't played much lately, so they've been gearing themselves for this sort of tournament. I think the conditions that we're playing in here probably suit them a little bit as well."
Ponting said it was unlikely Australia would change their fast-bowler dominated line-up if the pitch for the semi-final was similar to the one on Sunday. "It seems to be working pretty well for us," he said. "To have Mitchell [Johnson] and Brett [Lee] to be able to come back through the middle of the innings and take wickets is a bit of a key for us at the moment. We certainly like the bowling options there, and with Watson opening the batting now it gives us even more flexibility."
Australia's progression to the semi-finals meant they stayed in the city of Chandigarh for the second match in a row at nearby Mohali. Ponting's side has twice made the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy, but they bowed out to Sri Lanka in 2002 and England in 2004.