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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Aussies in ominous form
Andrew Symonds
Andrew Symonds was named Man of the Match
Australian captain Ricky Ponting backed his team to go all the way in the Champions Trophy after their seven-wicket win over New Zealand.

"Today, I thought we were pretty close to playing at 100%," he said.

"New Zealand are a good side, only losing two of their last 17 one-dayers, and we dealt with them.

"We are always trying to find areas to improve on but if we play anywhere near our best, then we will give anyone a tough game."

Australia have never won the Champions Trophy but are now only two wins away from adding the trophy to the World Cup they lifted in South Africa last year.

They restricted new Zealand to 198-9 in their 50 overs and then picked off the 199 they needed with seven wickets and more than 12 overs to spare.

Ponting praised veteran bowler Glenn McGrath's performance in taking 3-39.

Against such a good team you can't afford to fall behind so early
NZ captain Stephen Fleming

And he also hailed Andrew Symonds, who bowled 10 overs at a cost of only 29 runs and smashed an unbeaten 71 off 47 balls, as one of the best all-rounders in the game.

"I knew Glenn would not let the side down and he bowled beautifully," Ponting said.

"Andrew is the best fielder in the world, can bowl good off-spin and when he gets in with the bat, I don't think many grounds are big enough for him.

"Andrew, together with Damien Martyn can adapt to the match conditions and can either play a gutsy role or, like today, finish the job off."

The form of McGrath, Michael Kasprowicz and Jason Gillespie will make it hard for fast bowler Brett Lee to force his way back into the side.

But Ponting said he was not ruling anyone out.

He said: "I am always going to pick a team which is suited to the conditions and opponents.

"If we face Sri Lanka in the semi then Brett will have a very good chance of playing because he has a good record against them."

Fans invaded the pitch at the end of the game
Groundstaff tried to keep spectators off the square at the end

Some of the gloss was taken off Australia's victory when a series of scuffles broke out between spectators and groundstaff at the end of the match.

It evoked memories of the 2001 NatWest Series, also in England, when a series of crowd trouble incidents marred the tournament, prompting a toughening up of crowd control laws.

"It was probably a case of a few too many beers in the sun," said Ponting.

"The security out there were doing their best to keep them on the other side of the fence.

"The security that has been in place has been very good in this tournament."





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