Australia win to set up Chappell-Hadlee decider

A tense Chappell-Hadlee Trophy cricket series decider looms in Brisbane on Friday after Australia overhauled a sub-par BLACKCAPS total to win game four by six wickets.

Led by a 115-run stand between the Hussey brothers David (79) and Michael (75 not out), the hosts continued their resurgence to reach the target of 245 with 10 balls to spare and level the series 2-2.

It means New Zealand, who started the series with a flourish and had two match points, have to haul themselves up from back-to-back losses, with momentum clearly with the home side.

There were also injury worries for New Zealand, with captain Daniel Vettori hampered by what a team spokesman labelled a "minor hamstring twinge" as he bowled 10 wicketless overs for 54.

New Zealand chased runs in the three previous matches, but Vettori bucked the trend when he batted first on winning the toss and recalled batsman Craig Cumming for spinner Jeetan Patel.

Their 244 for eight looked about 25 below a par score on an excellent Adelaide Oval surface, before a 16,342-strong crowd on a chilly evening.

But the Kyle Mills-led New Zealand made a slick start with the ball to remove dangermen Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting cheaply inside the 15-over mark.

Clarke hit a soft catch off Iain O'Brien on 14 then Ponting had a reckless slog off Tim Southee and skied a simple chance on 15.

Then came a potential match-deciding moment when an awful mix-up saw Brad Haddin run out for 43 to leave Australia 101 for three in the 25th.

David Hussey turned blind for two, sent Haddin back, and Cumming fired in from deep point to have the opener stranded well short. It was the fifth run-out of an Australian top-six batsman in four matches.

The Hussey brothers had endured contrasting fortunes in the series to date, Michael averaging 58.3 and David just 10, but they quickly righted the ship.

Michael Hussey survived a very tough chance to a diving Martin Guptill on five, but should have been gone on 44 when Cumming dropped him low down at deep mid-wicket off Grant Elliott.

When Australia took the batting powerplay after 41 overs, they needed 55 off 54 balls and it was never really in doubt.

Earlier, a Ross Taylor onslaught revived a stuttering New Zealand innings.

The tourists never looked like they had enough runs until the in-form Taylor whacked 76 off 71 balls to post a competitive total.

Taylor arrived at 83 for two in the 22nd over and departed when he skied a catch at 226 for seven in the 48th, having plundered 53 off 37 balls with Kyle Mills with help from the batting powerplay. He whacked six fours and two sixes in his 10th ODI half-century as New Zealand took 81 off the last 10 overs.

For Taylor it continued a memorable 2009, having scored 378 ODI runs against West Indies and Australia at an average of 63.

New Zealand needed a batting saviour after the top-six perished largely to poor shot selection against an accurate Australian attack.

Allrounder James Hopes was the pick, taking two for 37 off 10 overs while left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson snared three for 51.

New Zealand received a pre-match boost when wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum was cleared to play despite a painful shoulder injury.

McCullum and Guptill added 69 -- New Zealand's best opening stand of the series -- before momentum stalled when they lost three for 17 including McCullum for a patient 33.

When Elliott and Cumming, in for spinner Jeetan Patel for his first ODI in four years, departed within an over it was a shaky 141 for five in the 35th.


BLACKCAPS auction signed shirts for bushfire appeal

The Australian and New Zealand players have each donated a signed series shirt to be auctioned, with the proceeds going to the bushfire appeal

Bids can be placed on the Cricket Australia website with the auction finishing today (11/02/09).

Bushfire appeal auction »


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