Stand-in Styris flattens Australia

Australia 275-8 New Zealand 281-8 <i>(New Zealand win by two wickets)</i>
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The Independent Online

After spending the best part of the summer unwanted on the sidelines, Scott Styris was delighted to get New Zealand across the line in the opening Chappell-Hadlee one-day international against Australia in Napier yesterday.

The 34-year-old would not even have been in the starting XI had captain Daniel Vettori not been forced out with a neck problem. Instead of watching from the stands the all-rounder found himself thrust into the role of match-winner as he hit 49 not out to get New Zealand past the target of 276 with four balls to spare after Ross Taylor, acting as captain in Vettori's absence, set up the innings with a 71-ball 70.

"To get out there and have a chance to win it I was obviously ecstatic," Styris said. "The boys have worked so hard and it was good to get them a win. I was a little bit rusty to start with. I haven't had an innings for a couple of weeks so it took me a little bit to get going, but the wicket out here was top drawer and great for batting and, thankfully, once the powerplay came I was able to get my shots away."

The defeat was Australia's first in 13 matches and captain Ricky Ponting felt his side's 275 was never going to be enough. Only Michael Hussey (59) got a half-century, while Shane Watson (45), Ponting (44), Cameron White and James Hopes (both 33) all got starts but failed to push on.

"I probably felt all night we were just a little bit behind," Ponting admitted. "I didn't think 275 was enough runs on that wicket. The ground is so small and the wicket was very good."