5th ODI: New Zealand v England at Dunedin, 26 Feb 2002
Lynn McConnell

Pre-game: Toss,
England innings: 15 overs, 30 overs, 50 overs,
New Zealand innings: 15 overs, 30 overs, 50 overs,

Nathan Astle confirmed again the old one-day adage that if one player can get a big score, and be given good support then his side will win and that was the case for New Zealand when they won the National Bank Series decider over England by five wickets.

Astle won the game when hitting two sixes, the second out of the ground, from Andrew Flintoff's bowling. New Zealand got home with seven balls to spare.

The winning shot saw him become the first New Zealand batsman to score 5000 ODI runs. He finished on 122, scored off 150 balls, his highest score in ODIs.

He hit five sixes and 12 fours. Lou Vincent was 20 not out off 27 balls.

It went down to the penultimate over, but with wickets in hand it was always going to be a safe bet for New Zealand.

Astle scored his 12th century, the 100 coming off 127 balls. His first 50 was scored off 42 balls, and included the three sixes and seven of the 12 fours that were the details of his century.

It was Astle at his best, his highest score of the international one-day summer, and in partnership with Craig McMillan added 100 runs for the fourth wicket at a stage when New Zealand could have squandered the outstanding start they were give as 55 runs were posted before the loss of the first wicket, Chris Nevin.

It was as if the 30-over mark was the time when the brakes could be let off and the scoring picked up.

McMillan looked much more comfortable after a scratchy start and showed his growing confidence when straight driving a ball from Matthew Hoggard for four.

The treatment of Hoggard was symptomatic of the way the New Zealanders have targeted bowlers this summer. Having been on the receiving end of two fine spells from him during England's victories at Napier and Auckland, the batsmen, and Astle especially gave him a right royal shake-up.

Then in his second spell he had 13 runs taken off an over.

Darren Gough, another who has troubled the batsmen, came back for a second spell but suffered no relief from the earlier assault that saw 27 runs taken from his first six overs. Eleven runs came from his first over back as Astle powered his way towards his 12th ODI century.

McMillan went two balls after the 100-run partnership had been achieved. He was trapped leg before wicket to Darren Gough for 44 scored off 77 balls. Chris Cairns came in and attempted a booming off drive only to miss. He connected with the next and saw it fly gently to Nasser Hussain at mid-off for the catch to be taken.

Two wickets down in three balls at 180/5. It was only a temporary hiccup as Gough was in his last over and he finished with two for 42.

Gough took two for 42 off 10 overs while Flintoff had one for 56 from 9.5. Craig White took two for 30 off 10.

New Zealand were in position to launch their final assault on England's fortress of 219 when reaching the 30 overs mark at 131/3 in their National Bank series decider at Dunedin's Carisbrook tonight.

Nathan Astle was on 77, his highest score since the 95 he scored when joining the New Zealand team in Adelaide for the second half of the VB Series.

Craig McMillan was with him on 21 and they had scored 51 runs for the fourth wicket by that stage of the innings, steering New Zealand through potentially dangerous waters.

Craig White did a fine job for England and bowled his best spell of the New Zealand leg of the tour. His first six overs saw him claim both Brendon McCullum and Stephen Fleming as New Zealand slipped from 77/1 to 80/3. They cost only 14 runs and also had the effect of toning down the Astle assault. Craig McMillan was very subdued taking 12 balls to score his first run and then just working the singles as they saw their way through a dangerous period.

The pressure started to ease when White was spelled as Ashley Giles was unable to contain them. McMillan eased his way out of discomfort by fetching a ball from Giles over mid-wicket and into the terrace crowd. Fourteen runs came off the over.

Astle cut Giles for four to kick start his innings and moved through to 77 in the 29th over.

They brought their 50 partnership up off 84 balls.

New Zealand got the flying start they wanted but lost three wickets before 15 overs had been completed in their quest to score 219 to beat England and take the National Bank Series at Carisbrook today.

Nathan Astle was playing one of his sublime attacking innings and had scored his half century off 42 balls, including three sixes and seven fours, 46 of his 50 off boundaries.

However, Craig White struck gold for England and ensured New Zealand would face a struggle to achieve the win. He had two for two off two overs.

It didn't take Astle long to start pulling out his top drawer shots. A pull shot for four in Gough's second over was followed straight away by four cover driven which bounced over the fieldsman.

Then as Matthew Hoggard looked to maintain the initiative he took in earlier games, Astle cut a ball for six towards the Main Stand and it lobbed into the roof bouncing back onto the ground.

Chris Nevin offered up a four cover driven off Gough and then in Hoggard's next over, Astle was dropped by Nick Knight when on 15. Fielding at close cover, Knight dived for the ball to make a one-handed take but he botched it and Astle immediately demonstrated how dangerous that was by hitting the next ball for four.

Off the next ball he wiped at a ball from Hoggard which flew towards third man but Paul Collingwood found himself caught in no man's land not quite able to go for the catch, but leaving himself vulnerable to the ball skewing off to the boundary which it duly did.

Astle then charged the first ball of Gough's fourth over, powering the ball to wide long on.

Another huge hit for six followed in Hoggard's next over and at the end of the eighth over New Zealand had its 50 off 50 balls.

Not surprisingly, Hoggard was relieved after his first four overs cost 30 runs.

The move worked for Nasser Hussain as off the fifth ball of the over, Flintoff had Nevin giving an edge straight behind to wicket-keeper Marcus Trescothick and he departed for 15 with New Zealand 55/1.

After Astle had taken 14 off Flintoff's second over, including a massive lofted off drive for six, Brendon McCullum fell victim to Craig White's second ball. White had replaced Gough who had 27 runs taken from his six overs, including a four pulled off his last ball by McCullum.

But on seven, McCullum looked to drive but played the ball onto the bottom of his off stump and was bowled. New Zealand were 77/2.

New Zealand's bowlers, Chris Cairns and Daryl Tuffey especially, gave their side every chance of a reasonable target to chase when curtailing England to 218/8 in the final National Bank Series match at Carisbrook in Dunedin today.

Cairns had his best figures of the series with 10 overs that yielded three for 32 including the innings breaking wicket of Owais Shah and the prospectively dangerous all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. He also had Paul Collingwood's scalp.

Tuffey had earlier taken the top order out of the equation relatively cheaply by claiming Marcus Trescothick, Nick Knight and Nasser Hussain, caught by Cairns, and he ended with three for 42.

No sooner had he achieved his first half century of the series, and his first in 13 innings since the tour to Zimbabwe than Nasser Hussain was out.

Stephen Fleming brought back Daryl Tuffey and Hussain attempted to lift him to square leg. But he didn't get enough on the ball and it went straight down Chris Cairns' throat, Hussain's innings ended after 80 balls. He and Shah added 71 runs for their fourth wicket stand off 114 balls.

Shah brought up his second ODI half century off 75 balls just as England reached 158/4 as the second drinks break was taken after 37 overs.

Fleming brought back Cairns for the 39th over and he trapped Shah leg before wicket for 57 off 81 balls. England were 165/5.

Andrew Flintoff fell victim to the Cairns slower ball which has not often been unveiled this series and the big English all-rounder was caught well short and was bowled for 1.

Paul Collingwood looked to be working himself into a good position for a late-order assault but when he attempted to cut a ball from Cairns he didn't get it over the out-stretched arms of the leaping Stephen Fleming in the gully and he departed for 21 off 34 balls. England in the 45th over were 183/7 and in real strife.

In the last over, Adams had Craig White caught at long on for 17 off 22 balls while Ashley Giles finished on 21 not out, his highest score in ODIs.

England came back strongly with a fighting fourth wicket stand at Carisbrook today in the National Bank series decider against New Zealand today.

Nasser Hussain and Owais Shah added 63 runs between the 15th and 30th overs as England looked to recover from the loss of three key batsmen in the first 14 overs.

Hussain was 48 not out and Shah 35 not out.

Shah, having been out-pointed by Michael Vaughan when he had his solitary outing in the series in Auckland while scoring 59, looked to be making the most of his best chance for a significant innings in the series.

They added 50 runs off 88 deliveries with Shah looking to play some big shots but not always getting the placement quite right.

Hussain was on his highest score of the series besting the 35 he scored in the opening game in Christchurch.

Shah, looked to get after Daniel Vettori in the 30th over and hit one lovely boundary through the covers with an improvised lofted shot.

Chris Cairns was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, conceding only 19 runs from his six overs while Daryl Tuffey had two for 24 and Andre Adams one for 39 from his eight overs.

A clever piece of captaincy by New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming produced a vital breakthrough when gaining dangerman Graham Thorpe's wicket.

Thorpe, on five, had just placed a lovely shot square of the wicket between the gully and point fieldsman. Fleming immediately pulled his slip Nathan Astle out, and had a close cover point and a gully fieldsman in place with the point standing back. Adams then produced a straight ball which looked to glance off Thorpe's back pad and take middle stump.

It was a vital blow after the half centuries Thorpe had scored in the previous two matches.

After 15 overs, England were 65/3 with Nasser Hussain 24 not out and Owais Shah, finally with the chance he has been looking for all series, on two not out.

Tuffey bowled a lovely ball which stood Trescothick up and just beat the edge of this bat and then next ball, a slightly wider ball was cut, but straight to Chris Harris in the gully. England were eight for one in the third over.

Nick Knight started to move into his shots and despatched a wider ball from Andre Adams for four over slips. Nine runs came from the over and with Nasser Hussain looking to advance when he could there was always the prospect of action. He managed one thumping off-drive from Tuffey's bowling and then swung another ball to wide mid-wicket.

However, when on 24, and looking dangerous, Knight had a ball from Tuffey which he attempted to cut in exactly the same way that had seen Trescothick depart, and he suffered the same result, caught by Harris in the gully. England were 43/2 in the ninth.

The 50 came up off 71 balls when Hussain hammered a four square through point.

Tuffey finished his first spell after bowling six overs and taking two for 24.

England won the toss and will bat first at Carisbrook in the National Bank Series decider against New Zealand today.

Conditions are the best for any of the five matches in the series, with a north-easterly wind blowing across the ground and offering hope of an uninterrupted match.

England have replaced the injured Michael Vaughan with Owais Shah while New Zealand have retained the same side that lost the fourth match of the series by 33 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method in Auckland on Saturday.

The match will be the 100th ODI for New Zealand umpire Steve Dunne, and he is the first umpire in the world to stand in one hundred matches. He had his first ODI on the same ground.

Dave Quested is the other umpire while the television umpire is Evan Watkin. Denis Lindsay is the match referee.

The teams are:

New Zealand: Stephen Fleming (captain), Chris Nevin, Nathan Astle, Brendon McCullum, Craig McMillan, Lou Vincent, Chris Cairns, Chris Harris, Andre Adams, Daniel Vettori, Daryl Tuffey.

England: Nasser Hussain (captain), Nick Knight, Marcus Trescothick, Graham Thorpe, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Craig White, Ashley Giles, Darren Gough, Matthew Hoggard.

© CricInfo

Date-stamped : 27 Feb2002 - 06:24