Ponting dismisses NZ game plans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting dismisses NZ game plans

By Jim Morton 18/02/2005 06:27:07 PM Comments (0)

Ricky Ponting has delivered twin warnings to over-achieving New Zealand on the eve of a five-match series between the world's two leading one-day outfits.

Ponting boldly dismissed any challenge to Australia's No.1 ranking by labelling the Black Caps' shrewd game plans "irrelevant" if his side clicked into gear.

He also reinforced the world champions' love of a dogfight and pointed to a remarkable record as backs-to-the-wall scrappers.

On paper NZ will issue Australia its greatest challenge in limited-overs cricket since the 2003 World Cup after winning 19 and losing only three of its last 24 matches dating back to January 2004.

Stephen Fleming's side boasts a winning percentage of 76 since then against creditable opposition such as England, South Africa, Pakistan and the West Indies and outshines Australia's (73.53 per cent) during the same period.

The astute Fleming has predicted a "great scrap" as he looks to guide his men to a seventh straight series win.

Ponting believes the Black Caps deserve their No.2 standing but claimed they would be clueless if the visitors hit their straps in all three facets of the game.

Australia enters Saturday's series opener at Wellington's Westpac Stadium determined to atone for sub-par batting that marred an otherwise dominant home Tri-Series triumph.

NZ also found some pressure points in the Australian top-order during the drawn Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series in December but Ponting disagreed the Kiwis led the way in exposing flaws.

"That would mean that they're the best bowling team in the world if they're restricting our batting, and I don't think they are that," he said.

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