New Zealand, Australia chase history in Champions Trophy final

04 October 2009

Defending Australia will look to make it two in a row when they take on underdogs New Zealand in the Champions Trophy final here Monday.
New Zealand shocked everyone when they beat a strong Pakistan side by five wickets in Saturday’s semi-final. No one expected them to cross the league stage, after their five-wicket loss to South Africa in the first round. But the Black Caps went on to top their group by beating Sri Lanka and England in the next two matches.

New Zealand will now be gunning to become the first side to win the tournament twice, having won the 2000 edition, which was known as the ICC Knockout Tournament, in Kenya.

Australia, on the other hand, have not lost a match in the tournament and will become the first country to defend the Champions Trophy if they win Monday at the SuperSport Park.

They were clinical in defeating England in the semi-final and will be the favoured side to win the final contest. They will be fresh and raring to go after a two-day break, having played the first semi-final Friday.

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori said hjis side would have liked to have a day’s rest, but insists the thrilling win against Pakistan has fired up his men.

“I wish we had another day before the final, to be honest,” Vettori said. “It was exhausting to get through the late game, but I think once Monday turns up the adrenalin will take over and everyone will be pretty excited about playing in a final.”

“I think you probably have achieved what you set out to achieve. But once you reach that level, you realise there is an immense desire to go all the way and I think there’s no relief in the camp,” he said.

Ponting says their side will have to be at their best against the Black Caps.

“The Kiwis have probably upset a few along the way,” said Ponting. “We know they are always a competitive team and few gave them a chance against Pakistan but they were obviously the better team.”

“It’s the first time in a few years we have not been ranked the number one team coming into a tournament like this. But we are happy with the way we have played one-day cricket over the last three to four weeks,” he said.