25 Feb 2015

Black Caps dream team?

6:07 am on 25 February 2015

What do New Zealand need to help beat Australia in their tournament-defining Cricket World Cup match on Saturday? Chris Harris and Shane Bond, with a dash of Ewen Chatfield on the side, if you believe the statistics.

We've used Cricinfo's statistical database to select a dream team of sorts for the head-to-head.

The criteria simply being people who have played for New Zealand against Australia 10 or more times in one-day matches and those with the best averages.

We have, obviously, needed to balance the side with the necessary amount of batting and bowling.

Here goes, in order of batting line-up:

1. Bruce Edgar - The man at the other end during the infamous underarm incident which marred the end of New Zealand's 1981 match against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Edgar is now a Black Caps selector, bringing some of the very sensible qualities he demonstrated with the bat. In this side, he would also be our wicketkeeper.

2. Peter Fulton - Yes, we were surprised by this too. In 13 matches against Australia, played between 2006 and 2009, two-metre Peter averaged a healthy 35.41. Yes, 35.41 - slightly more than the person batting at number 3…

3. Martin Crowe - A true great. He was the best batsmen in the world during the 1992 Cricket World Cup, also jointly hosted between NZ and Australia, and the most creative captain. He'd lead our team. If it was the younger Crowe, before the back and knee problems, he could also whip down a few. His bowling average against the Aussies being a chipper 25.30.

4. Ross Taylor - a protégé of Crowe's and New Zealand's most consistently destructive batsman, sorry Brendon McCullum, over a prolonged period. Taylor has averaged a tick over 38 against Australia with a strike rate close to 80.

5. Ken Rutherford - A legendary punter, his approach to batting sometimes echoed his like for a gamble; Rutherford's fortunes were often up and down. However, he averaged more against the Aussies than his career total and he is yet another former captain. This side has a considerable brains trust.

6. Roger Twose - he wore more padding than most when he came to the wicket and it worked: Twose turned getting hit into an art form, averaging 39.57 in his 10 matches against Australia.

7. Chris Harris - what couldn't the man known as Lugs do? A dynamo in the field, he brought his A-game when playing Australia. His batting average was close to 39 and bowling 37.51 (not that flash but not terribly bad either when compared to NZ's other trundlers).

8. Sir Richard Hadlee - always useful with the bat but an absolute gem with the ball. When it came to making the leather do the talking, Paddles was the master. And Australians were always easy prey for him. Dean Jones anyone?

9. Chris Pringle - The at-the-death specialist, if you believe the publicity, Pringle's popularity was helped by some last-offer heroics - see this YouTube video from the 5min 16 sec mark against Bruce Reid during the World Series in 1990. The medium pacer's average is strong, 26.66.

10. Shane Bond - put simply, the Aussies saw Bond at the top of his run and threw in the towel. His extreme pace and control saw him average an incredible 15.79 against Australia. Seven runs better than Hadlee and five better than his runner-up…

11. Ewen Chatfield - no-one gave more than Chats. That his average was better than Hadlee's, at 20.56, says something. He couldn't field or bat terribly well, but there was never a gutsier cricketer.

Who would be in your team and why? Email us at - iwitness@radionz.co.nz

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