Ross Taylor and Kayle Mills stars of New Zealand win

February 1st, 2009 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Perth,Feb 1 (IANS) New Zealand pushed Australia towards their worst losing streak in the one-dayers by winning the first game of the series by two wickets here at the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) Ground Sunday. Set 182 to win from 50 overs, the Black Caps reached the target off the last delivery.

It is Australia’s worst sequence of losses since early 2007 when they were beaten in five games in a row.

To make matters worse for the Australians, their in-form opening batsman Shaun Marsh injured his hamstring while fielding and could be out not only for the rest of the series but also for the tour of South Africa.

Ross Taylor (64) and man of the match Kyle Mills (26 off 35 following his four-wicket haul) guided the Kiwis to victory with a 62-run stand for the sixth wicket. Importantly, the two scored 41 runs in the batting powerplay taken at the end of the 42nd over.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori struck a four off the last ball of the game by Nathan Bracken to see his side home.

The visitors, however, had the worst possible start to their chase with the dangerous Brendon McCullum adjudged leg-before off the second ball of the innings when he nicked a Shaun Tait delivery onto his pads.

Martin Guptill (13), Peter Fulton (7) and Grant Elliott (8) followed him soon as the Australians applied pressure on a lively pitch. Taylor, too, should have been sent back but for Mitchell Johnson failing to hold on to a difficult catch at third man.

New Zealand rallied, thanks to a 49-run partnership between Taylor and Neil Broom before the latter was ruled bowled for 29 by Michael Clarke. The ball appeared to miss the stumps and the bails were subsequently disturbed by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

The laws of the game stipulate that a no-ball is to be awarded if wicketkeeper takes the ball or dislodges the bails before the ball passes the stumps.

Tait (2-40) and Bracken (3-38) were the best of the Australian bowlers.

Earlier, tight bowling spells from Vettori (0-22) and Mills (4-35) helped New Zealand dismiss Australia for a mere 181 runs in the 49th over.

Kiwi pace duo Iain O’Brien (2-43) and Tim Southee (1-34) also helped restrict Australia to their lowest total in one-day cricket this summer.

A solid innings by Mike Hussey (49 off 65 balls) and handy contributions from Haddin (31 from 54) and Johnson (20 off 17) gave the total some respectability after they slumped to 5 for 54 in the 20th over.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat on the same wicket which they lost to South Africa on by 39 runs Friday.

“It’s a bit easier when it’s one run a ball needed,” Vettori said.

“I told Jeetan we’d get the tie out of the way and then win it on the last ball.”

“But our fielding was exceptional, and Ross set it up for us to win,” Vettori said.

“Hopefully we can get Jesse Ryder fit for the second match - Scott Styris may struggle to make it for this series, but if Jacob Oram comes through some domestic cricket we’ll see if we can get him back.”

Ponting added: “It was a good fight, but New Zealand outplayed us.”

“We never got any momentum with our batting, but our bowling was very good to put us in with a chance in the last over.”

The next match takes place in Melbourne Friday.

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