Fleming puzzles Ponting
Ricky Ponting was amused to hear Stephen Fleming's claim that New Zealand's 215-run humbling at the hands of Australia will leave no significant dent in their World Cup confidence.
A World Cup Super Eight match which had no direct bearing on the remainder of the competition - both teams had already qualified for semi-finals on different Caribbean islands - saw the world champions post a mammoth 348 for six on the back of Matthew Hayden's 103 in Grenada.
The Kiwis, minus an ill Shane Bond and injured Jacob Oram from their attack, were then bowled out for 133 in reply as Brad Hogg took 4-29.
Ponting, whose team were beaten 3-0 in his absence by their trans-Tasman rivals in this year's Chappell-Hadlee Series, chalked up a 21st successive World Cup victory - dating back to 1999.
The Tasmanian is not especially interested in such statistics, but he does anticipate a psychological edge now over a team Australia could meet in next weekend's final.
Asked about Fleming's phlegmatic reaction to the widest-margin defeat in New Zealand’s one-day history, he said: "I'd rather be in our (dressing) room than theirs, right at the moment.
"I'm sure they will be having all sorts of meetings over the next few days to talk about this game. We'll be having a beer tonight.
"If they don't think that's going to affect them at all, then how is any psychological edge ever gained in any game of cricket?
"If we don't take something out of this game, nobody ever can. We've just beaten New Zealand by 215 runs in a World Cup game, so they've got a lot of thinking to do."
Ponting speaks from a position of significant strength as captain of a team who have not been seriously challenged by any side as they have compiled a 100 per cent record in this tournament.
"Our batting has been excellent - and it's getting better at the crucial part of this tour," he noted.
Hayden's record-equalling third hundred of the tournament was complemented by 66 from his captain, a destructive 65 at better than two runs a ball by the fit-again Shane Watson, seven wickets between Hogg and Shaun Tait - and two for Glenn McGrath to take the veteran seamer up to a share of Australia's all-time best 22 in one campaign.
For New Zealand, meanwhile - a defiant 62 from opener Peter Fulton aside - the cupboard was bare on Friday.
Fleming did not hide from that fact, but tried to put a positive spin on a disastrous showing.
"We were just totally outplayed - but we haven't wasted a good performance," he pointed out.
"We haven't wasted anything at all really, so we're just going to get up, wipe it off and look forward.
"There were areas of concern. We weren't accurate with the ball and lost wickets with the bat," Fleming admitted.
"But now it comes down to two games, and if we start analysing too much we won't look forward to what is coming up. We have an opportunity to win two games for the World Cup."