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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 16:48 GMT

Kiwis claim memorable triumph

Martin Crowe keeps the score ticking over and finds a gap in the field
Crowe finds a gap in the field
The 1992 tournament saw this Antipodean clash when the underdogs came out on top.

The 1992 World Cup was given the perfect start by the schedulers with a grandstand match between the two hosts in the opening game.

New Zealand welcomed Australia to Auckland and to the delight of the home crowd gained revenge for the two defeats that they had suffered at the hands of their Antipodean rivals in 1987.

Those two group matches had been the first time the teams had met in cricket's premier one-day competition.

Australia enjoyed narrow wins in both matches en route to lifting the trophy.

But in Auckland, like the two previous defending champions who also lost their opening matches, they came unstuck against Martin Crowe's inspired captaincy.

The New Zealander won the toss and elected to bat - a decision he may have wistfully rued when John Wright was out to the first legal ball of the match following two Craig McDermott wides.

A second wicket fell with the score at 13 and Crowe found himself at the crease earlier than he would have imagined.

22 February 1992
New Zealand won by 37 runs
N Zealand: 248 for six (50 ovs)
Martin Crowe 100*
Ken Rutherford 57
Craig McDermott 2 for 43
Australia: 211 all out (48.1 ovs)
David Boon 100
Steve Waugh 38
Gavin Larsen 3 for 30
But where others had failed, he flowed and led from the front.

Despite carrying a knee injury, Crowe put on 118 in 25 overs with Ken Rutherford and reached three figures off the penultimate ball of the innings in a three-hour knock.

He cajoled the best out of the lower order, Chris Harris, Ian Smith and Chris Cairns all making small cameos at a run-a-ball or better.

And then, on a slow pitch, Crowe pulled the first of his tactical masterstrokes when Australia set about their target of 249.

In the second over he threw the ball to off-spinner Dipak Patel, and the contrasting fortunes of his two opening bowlers, Cairns and Patel confirmed the success of the audacious ploy.

While Cairns was carted for 30 runs from his first four overs, Patel bowled a tight, disciplined seven-over spell for 17.

In addition Crowe rotated his bowlers, who all, bar Cairns, took a wicket, so that the opposing batsmen were unable to settle.

David Boon matched Crowe in scoring exactly 100, and like the Kiwi he scored 11 fours.

But unlike his fellow centurion he was dismissed, run out moments after Steve Waugh, Australia's second highest scorer, was out.

From 199 with Waugh and Boon at the crease with 50 still needed from five overs, Australia capitulated.

The last five wickets fell in the space of 17 balls, and Crowe and his team were feted by a sell-out Eden Park crowd.

It was the start of a magnificent run of seven unbeaten matches that carried New Zealand through to the semi-finals in top spot.

Crowe continued to open the bowling with Patel, frequently changed his bowlers and later in the tournament augmented the batting with the addition of Mark Greatbatch as a bludgeoning clubber at the top of the order.

And but for a mercurial effort by Inzamam-ul-Haq in the semi-final when Pakistan were all but beaten, New Zealand would have made the final.

In contrast the highly-fancied Australians never recovered from the early setback, losing three of their first four matches - their sole win, by one run, coming in a rain-affected outing against India.

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