âCenturion: Chasing a second successive title, Australia face a tricky task against a resurgent trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in the Champions Trophy final here on Monday.
Ricky Ponting's men have been in red-hot form going into the tournament after their 6-1 one-day series victory over England and they have not lost a single match in the eight-nation ICC event.
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A rejuvenated New Zealand, however, will not let a rare chance of an ICC event triumph go by so easily as they finally broke the semifinal jinx having made it to the final of the Champions Trophy for the second time.
Though without a major ICC event triumph except for the 2000-01 edition of the Champions Trophy, known as ICC knock-out tournament then, New Zealand have always been tough opponents.
The Australians do not look as formidable as they were two years back. But with the fine form of their batters, especially that of skipper Ricky Ponting, they start as favourites to lift the title.
Full Coverage: Champions Trophy 2009
Ponting has been leading by example and has become the most prolific batsman in Champions Trophy with 287 runs at an average of nearly 96.
And Shane Watson's return to form at the top order with a blistering unbeaten 136 against England in the first semifinal will only add to the concerns of Kiwis.