The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fleming blames it on batting
- GUWAHATI ODI l Ponting says bowlers’ penetration the turning point

Guwahati: New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming Sunday blamed his team’s poor batting after missing out on a golden opportunity to beat Australia in their tri-series match at the Nehru Stadium here.

After doing well to restrict the Australians to 225, New Zealand batsmen failed to put up a decent show and were bowled out for 181 in 45.3 overs to lose the match by 44 runs.

“Our batsmen played poorly and got out to some rash strokes while the run-outs also contributed,” Fleming said after the match.The Black Caps were desperate for a victory here to keep their chances of getting into the November 18 final in Calcutta alive. When New Zealand had taken to the field in the morning they were on nine points, the same as India.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting too appeared a bit concerned about his side’s top-order batsmen. The world champions were in a spot of bother after losing four wickets for 61, but Michael Bevan came up with a fine unbeaten 84 to help his side post a competitive total.

“We did not have a great start and this is a matter of concern which should be looked into,” Ponting said. “Ultimately, thanks to Bevan’s magnificent innings, we got a respectable total which we successfully defended.”

Ponting also praised his bowlers and said their early inroads into the opposition batting proved to be the turning point of the match.“Apart from losing early wickets, we played pretty good and our bowlers did a very good job in defending the total,” he said. “The early wickets for New Zealand proved fatal for them.”

Asked whether the Aussie selectors would find it tough to pick the team after the good show by players who came in for Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, Ponting replied in the affirmative. “The selectors might have trouble in picking players as today all the players played well,” he said.

Ponting said they would be back in full strength in their next match against India as it was important to keep playing well.

Asked if they were thinking about who they would meet in the final of the TVS Cup tri-series, Ponting said “it does not matter”.“Whether it is India or New Zealand the important thing would be that we should play well on that day,” he said.

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