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28 March 201511:55

New Zealand v Australia – Greatest Cricket World Cup rivalries

A look at all the memorable duels the New Zealand-Australia rivalry has produced in ICC Cricket World Cups

New Zealand v Australia – Greatest Cricket World Cup rivalries  - Cricket News

20 May 1999: Shane Warne of Australia congratulates Roger Twose of New Zealand during the Cricket World Cup Group B match played at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Wales. New Zealand won the game by 5 wickets. \ Mandatory Credit: Graham Chadwick /Allsport

The best of neighbours are often the fiercest rivals on the sporting field. Australia and New Zealand have long gone toe-to-toe with each other in rugby union, and their cricketing encounters too have spiced up many tournaments, particularly in ICC Cricket World Cups – where several skirmishes between the two have produced enthralling cricket.

Ranked No. 1 in One-Day Internationals, Australia has justified its tag of being among the frontrunners to lift the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 by making the final, but co-host New Zealand – who came in to the tournament on an upswing after three successive series wins – has been setting the pace superbly, and was the first team to enter the title bout.

Historically, Australia has had the upper hand against New Zealand, having won 85 of the 126 One- Day Internationals so far. On the World Cup front too, it’s 6-3 for Australia, who won against New Zealand twice in 1987, and once each in 1996, 2003, 2007 and 2011.

However, their most recent encounter, a classic that went down to the wire, saw New Zealand best Australia by one wicket at Eden Park in the league stage of this World Cup.

Match 1: New Zealand v Australia, Nehru Stadium in Indore, 1987 World Cup

Postponed by a day due to heavy rain, the match was reduced to a 30-overs-a-side affair. New Zealand needed a win to be in a position to challenge for a semi-final spot. Despite losing Geoff Marsh early, David Boon and Dean Jones laid a solid platform adding 117 from 98 balls against the New Zealand slow bowlers. Allan Border chipped in with 34, as Australia put on 199 in 30 overs.

John Wright and Ken Rutherford got New Zealand off to a sparkling start, putting on 83 in twelve overs. Martin Crowe then smashed 58 off 46, before falling to Steve Waugh's first ball, misjudging the length and lofting it to deep cover. New Zealand began the final over requiring seven runs with four wickets in hand. Waugh’s next delivery, a yorker, sent back Ian Smith. When Martin Snedden was run out, it was all over for New Zealand as Australia sneaked home by three runs.

Match 2: New Zealand v Australia, Sector 16 Stadium in Chandigarh, 1987 World Cup

Australia got off to a blazing start despite David Boon’s early dismissal, with Geoff Marsh associating with Dean Jones in a 126-run stand. Jones was caught behind off Willie Watson for 56, and Marsh, who ended with 126 not out, became only the third player after Sunil Gavaskar and Glenn Turner to bat throughout a World Cup innings, taking Australia to 251 for 8.

New Zealand made a decent start, courtesy a 72-run opening stand between Martin Snedden and John Wright, before Snedden was bowled for 32. New Zealand suffered another setback when Martin Crowe was run out by Steve Waugh's deflection off a straight drive from Wright at the non-striker’s end. Ken Rutherford made an enterprising 44, while Wright top-scored with 61, but New Zealand lost wickets at regular intervals to be bowled out for 234, giving Australia a 17-run win.

Match 3: New Zealand v Australia, Eden Park in Auckland, 1992 World Cup

It was the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 and pitted the two co-hosts against each other. Martin Crowe led from the front after opting to bat first, coming in with the score 13 for 2 and hitting an unbeaten century. Crowe resurrected the innings with Ken Rutherford (57) compiling 118 runs for the fourth wicket, as New Zealand put up 248 for 6.

He then played a tactical masterstroke, opening the bowling with offspinner Dipak Patel. Australia was stifled by Patel’s spin early on, and he gave away just 19 runs from his first seven overs. Clever bowling changes didn’t allow the Australian batsmen to settle, and although David Boon hit a fighting century and Steve Waugh hit out lower down the order, Australia lost its last five wickets for 12 runs in 17 balls to be bowled out for 211. New Zealand won by 37 runs.

Match 4: New Zealand v Australia, MA Chidambaram Stadium in Madras, 1996 World Cup

It was the fourth quarterfinal of the ICC Cricket World Cup1996. New Zealand had racked up 286 – its highest total in ODIs against Australia then. That New Zealand could set an imposing target was due to captain Lee Germon’s enterprising 89 - his maiden international fifty - and Chris Harris’s 124-ball 130 - his maiden international century. Together they put on 168 for the fourth wicket to form the bedrock of New Zealand’s total.

With Danny Morrison injured, Germon reverted to Martin Crowe’s surprise tactic from the previous World Cup. Offspinner Dipak Patel was given the new ball, and he had Mark Taylor caught behind in the sixth over. But Mark Waugh prospered in his role as the opener, first stitching a 65-run stand with Ricky Ponting, and then adding 43 runs for the third wicket with Shane Warne, who was promoted to No. 4 as the pinch-hitter. Mark’s 86-run partnership with elder twin Steve took Australia closer to the daunting target. Mark scored 110 from 112 balls, becoming the first batsman to score three hundreds in one World Cup, before misjudging a shot to the boundary. Steve then saw Australia through to the closing stages with his unbeaten 59, with Stuart Law for company. Australia marched into the semi-final with 13 balls to spare.

Match 5: New Zealand v Australia, Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, 1999 World Cup

Steve Waugh's decision to bat first was affected by a sudden downpour that interrupted the match for half an hour. Despite losing Mark Waugh and Adam Gilchrist early, Ricky Ponting and Darren Lehmann kept the scoreboard ticking with a 94-run stand. But Geoff Allott, who found late swing and seam, kept Australia to a modest 213 for 8 with his 4 for 37.

There was still enough swing to reduce New Zealand to 49 for 4, Roger Twose and Chris Cairns combined to dash Australia's hopes with a 148-run stand in 28 overs. New Zealand thus romped home to a five-wicket win with more than three overs to spare.

Match 6: New Zealand v Australia, St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth, 2003 World Cup

Having won four of its last six ODIs against Australia, New Zealand was optimistic about repeating the feat in this Super Six encounter. Opting to field first, Stephen Fleming shuffled his attack, making seven bowling changes by the 24th over. Shane Bond took career-best figures of 6 for 23 to leave Australia reeling at 84 for 7 in 26.3 overs. But Michael Bevan and Andy Bichel resurrected the innings with a 97-run stand. While Bevan made a patient 56, Bichel muscled his way to 64 as Australia put on 208 for 9.

New Zealand went into to mid-innings break with a semi-final spot for taking, but Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath put a lid on those
plans. Having lost early wickets, New Zealand's end came swiftly as McGrath ripped through the top order, and Lee tore through the tail with a devastating burst. Stephen Fleming waged a lone battle with his 70-ball 48, but New Zealand was bowled out for 112 - its lowest World Cup total – as Australia secured an emphatic 96-run win to advance to semi-finals.

Match 7: New Zealand v Australia, National Cricket Stadium in Grenada, 2007 World Cup

The semi-finals line-up had already been decided before this clash, with both Australia and New Zealand through to the last four. While Australia was to play South Africa in St Lucia, New Zealand would face Sri Lanka in Jamaica.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 saw Australia reach its zenith as a team, and though New Zealand was hampered by the absence of Shane Bond for this match, down with a stomach bug, but even so, Australia’s 215-run win after putting on a massive 348 for 6 was comprehensive.

Despite losing Adam Gilchrist early after opting to bat, Australia got off to a blazing start right from the word go. Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting put on 137 off 131 balls for the second wicket, forcing the second powerplay to be delayed until the 24th over, when Ponting was caught off Jeetan Patel for 66. Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey chipped in with 49 and 37 respectively, but it was Hayden who dominated with his third century of the tournament – also the 100th hundred in World Cups.

New Zealand had successfully chased 347 to win in Hamilton in February against the same opposition, but on a pitch that had begun to turn it was going to be a challenge. Peter Fulton cracked an impressive half-century, but the rest of the New Zealand line-up had no answers against a well-balanced attack. Glenn McGrath and Shaun Tait, the new ball bowlers, broke the back of the top order with a couple of wickets, reducing it to 80 for 4 in 12.3 overs. Brad Hogg then grabbed three lower-order wickets, as Australia continued its ominous form, with New Zealand bowled out for 133.

Match 8: New Zealand v Australia at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, 2011 World Cup

A devastating spell of fast bowling from Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait saw Australia reduce New Zealand to 73 for 6 in 17 overs, and though a late recovery allowed the side to post 206 all out in 45.1 overs, the target didn’t pose problems for Australia, who eased to victory in 34 overs with seven wickets in the bag in a Group A encounter.

After the top order collapse, Nathan McCullum (52) and Daniel Vettori (44) led the recovery to ensure there was some resistance on offer.

The target wasn’t going to pose problems for Australia though, particularly after Brad Haddin and Shane Watson made a flying start with a 133-run opening stand in just 18.1 overs. Both openers fell in the same over, with Hamish Bennett the bowler, and Ricky Ponting, the captain, was stumped down the leg side by Brendon McCullum off Tim Southee, but Michael Clarke and Cameron White guided Australia to victory with 16 overs to spare.

Match 9: New Zealand v Australia at Eden Park in Auckland, 2015 World Cup

For the first 13 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia's batsmen backed Michael Clarke's decision and took the team to 80 for 1. New Zealand's three-pronged attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Daniel Vettori then scripted the fightback. Boult was the pick of the lot and with his pace and late swing, returning figures of 5 for 27 from 10 hostile overs that saw Australia tumble to 151 all out in 32.2 overs.

Brendon McCullum's breezy half-century at the top meant New Zealand cantered to 78 for 1 in quick time. However, the captain’s dismissal triggered an inspired fightback from Australia. Mitchell Starc matched Boult for skill, pace and supreme fast bowling, to return career-best figures of 6 for 28 and reduce New Zealand to 146 for 9. The equation had boiled down to six runs with one wicket in hand, but Kane Williamson, a symbol of calm, scored a crucial unbeaten 45, and sealing a thriller for New Zealand with a six – a remarkable shot under pressure, hitting Pat Cummins over the long-on boundary.

What to expect in #CWC15 final

Both teams don’t lack for firepower. While McCullum's men have made their aggressive intent clear throughout the tournament, Australia will be more than equal to the task. Both teams bat deep, while Boult and Starc, the two left-arm pace guns, have been the tournament’s standout bowlers so far.

New Zealand is unbeaten in this tournament and heads into the final with a perfect eight wins out of eight matches record. Australia has been in great form as well, the match against New Zealand in the Group Stage being the lone blip. While New Zealand was pushed to the limit by an extremely competitive South Africa side in its semifinal clash, Australia enjoyed a much more comfortable win against its semifinal opponent, India.

They were the two pre-tournament favourites. And while New Zealand has been the best team in the World Cup, Australia has not been too far behind, and will also have the home ground advantage, with the final to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. New Zealand’s sparkling form countered by Australia’s resilient all-round depth – it has all the makings of another classic.