In a serious blow to the Kiwi hopes, skipper Daniel Vettori, suffering a hamstring strain, has pulled out of the ICC Champions Trophy final against Australia at SuperSport Park here on Monday.
Wicket-keeper batsman Brendon McCullum, leading New Zealand in the summit clash, elected to bat after winning the toss. Off-spinner Jeetan Patel comes into the side for Vettori. Australia has fielded an unchanged eleven.
Vettori, the inspiration behind New Zealand's stunning progress to the final, will be missed for his leadership qualities, teasing left-arm spin and determined left-handed batting. All of Vettori's qualities were on view during his side's five-wicket win over Pakistan in the semifinal at the Wanderers on Saturday.
New Zealand has already been rocked by injuries to key cricketers including Jesse Ryder and Jacob Oram. Remarkably the side has found the strength within to reach the final.