|Scorecard:||Australia v New Zealand|
|Player:||MJ Guptill, LRPL Taylor, DJ Hussey, MEK Hussey|
|Event:||New Zealand in Australia 2008/09|
DateLine: 10th February 2009
The Hussey brothers ensured the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy would be decided by Friday's final match in Brisbane after they helped Australia to a six-wicket win that levelled the series 2-2. For the first time in the series New Zealand batted first and they posted a moderate 244, which on a good pitch was not enough against an Australian batting order starting to find form. The game was a key one not only in the contest for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy but also because it had turned into a fundraising event for the Victorian bushfire appeal. Both teams donated their match fees to the cause, while television viewers were also asked to contribute throughout the match.
New Zealand won the toss and Vettori decided to set the target for the Australian team. They struggled to find the right tempo and following a solid but unhurried opening stand between Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill, the middle-order players battled to build decent partnerships. On several occasions the batsmen were surprised a bit of extra pace and bounce and Taylor was one of four specialists who fell top-edging attempted pulls and hooks. Guptill could not get on top of a Johnson bouncer and skied to Nathan Bracken at fine leg for 45. Guptill had been the more aggressive of the openers, although that came only after a slow start. Gradually he lifted his rate and showed his strength when he slammed Bracken down the ground for six and struck a few boundaries. McCullum, who passed a late fitness test on his right shoulder, played an uncharacteristically cautious innings of 33 from 55 balls. He had not managed a boundary when he was bowled advancing to Michael Clarke, who was superbly economical. Cameron White went for 24 from two overs and was rightfully replaced after two ineffectual overs. Grant Elliott enjoyed driving White through the off side but the bounce of Johnson surprised him as it had Guptill, and his swivel pull was brilliantly taken in the deep by David Hussey. James Hopes has been a wicket-taker throughout the one-day season and again he picked up two wickets to mistimed drives when the batsmen misjudged his pace. Peter Fulton skied to mid-on for 5 and Craig Cumming, playing his first ODI for nearly four years, did not improve his chance of further appearances when he prodded to mid-off without scoring.
Ross Taylor helped New Zealand set a moderate target at Adelaide Oval, where Australia will chase 245 to level the series and avoid handing over the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. For most of the innings New Zealand's decision to bat for the first time in the series looked like backfiring but Taylor and Kyle Mills used the batting Powerplay well in the dying stages to bump the score higher. They took the Powerplay with six overs remaining and it brought them 2 for 53 as Taylor and Mills found the gaps and in some cases cleared the field with ease. Most thrilling was a gigantic six pulled over square leg and out of the ground by Mills off Mitchell Johnson, whose speed and bounce brought him three wickets. Johnson eventually collected Taylor, whose top-edged pull was caught by Brad Haddin, but not before the batsman posted a terrific 76 from 71 balls. He departed during the Powerplay but had given the much needed tempo to the New Zealand innings.
Australia were chasing for the first time in the series and they need to win to avoid handing over the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in Adelaide. Michael Clarke posted 14 before he gave O'Brien the perfect start by driving the bowler's fourth delivery to short cover. Brad Haddin followed his maiden ODI century with a solid 43 but Australia's chase took a blow when he was run out in the 25th over and at that stage Australia were 3 for 101 and the match was very much in the balance. The loss of Haddin, who was caught short trying to turn back after being the victim of a bad call from David Hussey, was a big moment after Haddin had once again relished the chance to open. He was quickly on to anything short, pulling a pair of boundaries off Tim Southee and cutting Iain O'Brien powerfully for four, and he made an aggressive start against Daniel Vettori and slog-swept his fourth ball for six over midwicket. Hussey was looking for his first substantial contribution of the summer and he was also in a positive frame of mind. That helped ease the pressure on Haddin after Ricky Ponting was very watchful in his 15 from 27 balls. Ponting eventually fell in a similar manner to several of the New Zealand batsmen when he was caught top-edging a pull.
The onus was then on the out-of-form Hussey to repay his side with a big innings and he delivered. He struck his highest one-day international score of 79 and combined in a 115-run partnership with his older brother that made sure the required run-rate was never too much more than six. Importantly Australia made sensible use of the batting Powerplay, which they took with nine overs to go and a further 55 runs required and Australia took 37 runs from the Powerplay. In his first ODI at his home venue, Callum Ferguson calmly helped Michael Hussey pick off the remaining runs and they got home with ease. Michael Hussey's unbeaten 75 was yet another superb innings - he entered the game with a lowest score of 49 from his past four efforts - and he made New Zealand pay for putting him down twice. The first was a terribly hard chance when he was on 3 and pulled Daniel Vettori viciously to midwicket, where Martin Guptill just got his fingertips to the ball. But the second opportunity was particularly frustrating for New Zealand as Hussey pulled Grant Elliott hard and flat into the deep, where Craig Cumming spilled what he should have taken. Michael Hussey brought up the win with a six over long-on, adding another $5000 to the tally after the Commonwealth Bank pledged that amount for every six in the game. It confirmed the win with ten balls to spare but much of the hard work was done by Australia's bowlers, who did well to restrict New Zealand to a middling total.