Get ready for big moments, Ponting tells team
CENTURION: Australia captain Ricky Ponting has told his team to get ready for "big moments" in the Champions Trophy final against New Zealand here on Monday.
Defending champions Australia are the only unbeaten team in the tournament, having defeated the West Indies and Pakistan in league matches and England in the semi-final. Their game against India was abandoned due to rain.
"We've done everything that we've needed to so far. We're happy with the way we've played our one-day cricket over the last three or four weeks," Ponting told reporters on Sunday.
"As I said after the England game, it's been about making sure we were ready for the big moments. We were in the semi-final and we'll make sure we're ready for the big moments tomorrow as well."
Ponting said he had so far been satisfied with his team's performances in the tournament, but expected them to maintain the momentum.
"My expectations have always been very high," he said.
"Our first couple of performances in this tournament were very good. We had a little bit of a glitch against Pakistan, the last half of our batting, but we rectified that very quickly against England."
Ponting's Australians may have lost the Ashes in England this year but have been performing remarkably well in one-day internationals since then, having lost just one of their last 11 matches.
"It's been a long time on the road. We've played a lot of very good cricket," he said.
"If we happen to play well tomorrow and win the tournament, we'll look back on the last five months as being a really good period in Australian cricket."
Ponting said his team needed to put in a good performance against New Zealand, who had exceeded expectations by reaching the final despite losing key players Jesse Ryder, Jacob Oram and Daryl Tuffey.
"They play to their strengths and they do it very well. They're a very disciplined side and have been for a number of years. They'll always try and give their 100 percent," he said.
"We have to match them in that department and let our skills take over everything else. We just have to put up a performance and not try too hard for anything spectacular."
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said his bowlers needed to keep pressure on Australia's top-order batsmen in order to gain an advantage.
"Their top order has been outstanding. They play so well. If we can do it (keep pressure) that will enable us to have a chanace," said Vettori.
Vettori said the team-effort was the key to his injury-hit side's successes.
"I can't let it (injuries) worry me because it's nothing I can control. The reason we have come so far is that we've had team performances," he said.
"A number of guys have stepped up and allowed us to win. We may not have had too many stars in the tournament, but if you look at every game we've had six-seven guys step up and really perform."
Vettori said his team were capable of winning the final.
"We have got to put emphasis on our performance. I think the top eight teams here all believed that they can win on the day and we're no different," he said.
New Zealand won the tournament in Nairobi in 2000.