One of the most awaited matches of the 2015 World Cup will be played between New Zealand and Australia, the co-hosts of the tournament, at Auckland’s Eden Park on 28th February. Remarkably, this will be the first complete ODI between the two neighbours since the 2011 World Cup.
On the eve of the blockbuster clash, let us look back at the eight previous instances of Australia meeting New Zealand in a World Cup match. The Australians clearly enjoy a better record, with six wins as against New Zealand’s two.
Group Stage, Indore, 1987
No play was possible on the day of the match due to rain, and thus a shortened 30-overs-a-side match was played on the following reserve day. After New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe inserted Australia in, Martin Snedden delivered early by removing Geoff Marsh with the score on 17.
David Boon (87 from 96 balls) and Dean Jones (52 from 48) put on 117 off 98 balls for the second wicket to put Australia in charge. Dipak Patel accounted for the latter, following which captain Allan Border came out and scored a quickfire 34 to add meat to the total. Australia ended at a strong 199/4 off the allotted 30 overs.
New Zealand openers Ken Rutherford (37) and John Wright (47) signalled their intent with a stand of 83 in just 12 overs, before Simon O’Donnell removed both of them within the space of 11 runs. Martin Crowe, batting at number three was looking in fine touch and he carried on with the task despite wickets falling around him.
The final over began with New Zealand needing seven to win with four wickets in hand. Steve Waugh bowled a splendid last over, removing Crowe (58 from 46 balls) and Ian Smith off the first two balls and then allowing only three runs as New Zealand were restricted to 196/9. The last five wickets fell for 29 runs.
Group Stage, Chandigarh, 1987
Australia yet again triumphed in a closely-fought encounter, thanks to an excellent hundred from Geoff Marsh. After deciding to bat, Australia rode on a 126-run second-wicket stand between Marsh and Dean Jones (56). But the middle order failed to build on this start as the score nosedived from 151/1 to 193/6. Marsh kept on going, and ended with an uneaten 126 from 149 balls, with the team total being 251/8.
In reply, openers Martin Snedden and John Wright put on 72 before Steve Waugh dismissed the former. Wright scored a solid 61 and was third out with the score on 127. At 173/3, New Zealand were in with a great chance with Ken Rutherford and Jeff Crowe looking comfortable in the middle.
Captain Allan Border gave his side the opening by removing Crowe, and Australia never let go of the advantage. New Zealand were bowled out for 234 in 48.4 overs, with Waugh and Border claiming two wickets each at a tidy economy rate. New Zealand’s hopes of making the semifinals were dashed.
League Stage, Auckland, 1992
The co-hosts of the 1992 World Cup clashed in the opening game at Auckland. New Zealand got off to a poor start after captain Martin Crowe elected to bat, losing John Wright and Andrew Jones with only 13 runs on the board. This brought Crowe to the crease, and he proceeded to play a fine captain’s knock.
Crowe found a willing partner in Ken Rutherford (57), and the duo added a game-changing 118 in 25 overs for the fourth wicket. Crowe reached his century in the last over, scoring an unbeaten 100 from 134 balls with 11 fours and enabling his side to post a decent total of 248/6 on a sluggish pitch.
David Boon and Geoff Marsh gave Australia a sound start by adding 62 for the opening wicket before the latter fell to Gavin Larsen (3/30). Boon held one end firmly even as wickets fell at regular intervals. Steve Waugh joined him at 125/5 and they together put on 74 for the sixth wicket, but Larsen again provided the breakthrough. Boon was seventh out for 100 (133 balls) as Australia lost five for 12 to be all out for 211 in 48.1 overs.
Quarterfinal, Chennai, 1996
Australia triumphed in an entertaining contest on a Chennai pitch conducive to the batsmen. New Zealand captain Lee Germon elected to bat and saw his side slip to 44/3 against some disciplined bowling from the Australian pacers. The recalled Chris Harris came out to join Germon at this stage, and the two combined for a rapid 168-run stand at more than six an over.
Germon fell for 89 from 96 balls, but Harris continued his charge until the penultimate over before getting out to Shane Warne for 130 from 124 balls, with 13 fours and four sixes. Faced with a total of 286/9, Australia lost their captain Mark Taylor early to off-spinner Dipak Patel, but Mark Waugh was in ominous form, having already scored two centuries in the tournament.
The game looked even at 127/3, but a fourth-wicket stand of 86 between Mark and his twin Steve Waugh swung the momentum towards Australia. Mark Waugh fell for 110 (112 balls, 6×4, 2×6) with 74 runs needed. Steve Waugh (59* from 68 balls) and Stuart Law (42* from 30 balls) ensured there was no further opening for the Kiwis as they added an unbeaten 76 to guide Australia to 289/4 with 13 balls to spare.
Group Stage, Cardiff, 1999
This was the first ODI to be played at Sophia Gardens. After Steve Waugh elected to bat, left-arm fast bowler Geoffrey Allott sent back the openers with only 32 on the board. Ricky Ponting (47) and Darren Lehmann (76) stitched together 94 runs for the third wicket, but the middle and lower order could not take advantage of it.
Australia were eventually restricted to 213/8, with Allott claiming 4/37 in ten overs. New Zealand’s openers too fell cheaply, and when Glenn McGrath castled captain Stephen Fleming, the score read 47/3. Shane Warne soon after sent back Craig McMillan, and New Zealand were in real trouble at 49/4.
This brought together Roger Twose and Chris Cairns. The duo played with composure and were undaunted by the task at hand. After beginning cautiously, they handled the Australian attack with ease, going on to add a match-winning 148 in 28 overs for the fifth wicket. Cairns scored 60 from 77 balls while Twose, who struck the winning boundary, scored 80* from 99. New Zealand reached 214/5 with 28 balls to spare.
Super Six, Port Elizabeth, 2003
This match was highlighted by top bowling performances from two of the fastest bowlers in the tourney. Shane Bond destroyed the Australian batting after Stephen Fleming elected to field. He mopped up the top three to leave the score at 31/3 and later returned to take three more to have Australia in tatters at 84/7 in the 27th over.
Bond finished with 6/23 in his ten overs. Once he was out of the way, Australia played with much more ease. Michael Bevan (56) and Andy Bichel (64) revived the innings with a crucial 97-run partnership for the eighth wicket. The 50 overs were eventually played out, with the final total reading 208/9.
New Zealand slipped to 33/3 in reply and never looked like chasing the moderate total. Only Fleming, with 48, showed fight. Glenn McGrath (3/29) started off by taking three wickets, while Brett Lee, besides removing Fleming, nipped out the final four quickly to finish with 5/42 and help bowl out New Zealand for 112 in 30.1 overs.
Super Eight, St. George’s, 2007
New Zealand had beaten Australia 3-0 in a three-match ODI series just before the World Cup, and were expected to be more than a match for the defending champions – who had been ruthless throughout the tournament – in this Super Eight match. However, it turned out to be a hugely one-sided affair as Australia swamped their opponents.
After electing to bat, Australia were given a strong foundation thanks to a 137-run second-wicket alliance between Matthew Hayden and captain Ricky Ponting. Ponting score a 70-ball 66 while Hayden cracked a typical 103 from 100 balls. Further contributions from the middle order – Shane Watson pounded 65* off 32 balls – and 91 runs from the final ten overs swelled the total to 348/6.
New Zealand slid to 29/2 but looked to be making a contest of it at 77/2 in 11 overs with Peter Fulton and Scott Styris in the middle. However, Styris’ dismissal sent the innings into a free-fall. The last eight wickets fell for only 56 runs as New Zealand were wrecked for 133 in just 25.5 overs. Only Fulton gave resistance, scoring 62 and being the last man out. Left-arm spinner Brad Hogg scalped 4/29.
Group Stage, Nagpur, 2011
A quality pace bowling display helped Australia to score a comfortable win in this match, which was also played for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. After New Zealand were inserted, the dangerous Brendon McCullum departed with the score on 20. From then on, Australia never lost their grip on the match.
Shaun Tait (3/35) along with Mitchell Johnson (4/29) rattled the New Zealand batting to leave the score reeling at 73/6. Nathan McCullum (52) salvaged some pride by sharing stands of 48 (seventh wicket) and 54 (eighth wicket) with Jamie How and Daniel Vettori (44) respectively. In spite of these efforts, New Zealand folded for 206 in 45.1 overs.
Australian openers Shane Watson (62 from 61 balls) and Brad Haddin (55 from 50 balls) effectively sealed the contest with a rampaging 133-run stand in just 18.1 overs. Hamish Bennett dismissed both of them in the space of three balls, but it was too late in the day. Michael Clarke and Cameron White completed the chase as Australia reached 207/3 with a full 16 overs remaining.