Saturday, February 26, 2011

Aus vs NZ: Convincing 7-wicket win for Aussies against Kiwis

Australia beat their trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand by seven wickets in a one-sided World Cup Group B match at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground in Nagpur on Friday. 
Chasing a partly 207, the Australians got off to a fine start with openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin milking away the Kiwi bowlers. The duo batted on at ease even as the Kiwis tried hard to figure out a way to stop their charge.
Their bowling lacked the kill and the Aussies continued to pound away boundaries. Finally Kiwi pacer Hamish Bennett managed to break their partnership when the Aussie score was 133 runs. It was a slower ball that did the trick albeit a bit late. Haddin went for an aerial shot and ended up giving a catch to James Franklin at deep midwicket. Haddin scored 55.
With the partnership broken, the other opener Shane Watson too lost his rhythm and got out in the 20th over when the Aussie score was 136/2. He was cleaned bowled by Bennett on 62.
A few minutes later Aussie skipper Ricky Pointing too fell trying to play Tim Southee down the leg side. The ball was wide off the leg side and Ponting still touched it trying to play it towards the fine-leg boundary. But keeper Brendon McCullum had other plans, he collected the ball and even before Ponting could realise his error his bails were off. He scored 12 as the Australia score read 167/3.
Finally, Michael Clarke and Cameron White batted on to carry the Aussies to victory in the 34th over.
New Zealand innings
New Zealand posted a meagre 206 against Australia in their World Cup Group A match. The total could have been all the more dismal hadn't Nathan McCullum and skipper Daniel Vettori staged a late revival at death.
In the morning, Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting won the toss and decided to bowl under overcast conditions - a move aimed helping his pacemen excel. And that's what they did with Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson ripping the Kiwi batting apart.
Shaun Tait started the job rather early removing opener Brendon McCullum in the fourth over of the day.
However, it was more of McCullum's fault in the way he got out. He went for a big hit right away and Jason Krejza took a fine catch in the deep. He fell for 16 as New Zealand slumped to 20/1 in 3.4 overs.
Shortly after McCullum's dismissal, the other opener Martin Guptill too walked back with Shane Watson castling him on 40/2 in the 9th over. He scored 10.
But, that was just the beginning of the Aussie charge as Mitchell Johnson claimed two wickets in the space of two balls to push the Kiwis to the wall. Ryder fell for 25 while James Franklin hadn't even opened his account, when Johnson removed them. The New Zealand score at the stage was 66/4 in 13.5 overs.
Clearly the Aussies pacemen were at a party and Shaun Tait struck back to make sure he had more reason to cheer. After removing McCullum in early, he claimed seasoned batsman Scott Styris in the 15th over when the Kiwi total was 67/5. Poor Styris hadn't even opened his account.
Tait was far from satisfied and in his next over he struck again to get rid of Ross Taylor (7) with a fine yorker. Kiwis were reeling on 73/6.
Six wickets down and the pitch dry by then, the Kiwis finally managed to forge a small 48-run partnership with Nathan McCullum and Jamie How sticking together for 40 minutes.
The two used 12 overs and scored the rate of four runs an over helping their team cross the 100-run mark. But in the 29th over, leg-spinner Steve Smith decided to break their stand. He tossed the ball in the middle and removed How with an LBW decision. The Kiwis went for a decision review, but it proved to be unsuccessful as New Zealand slumped to 121/7.
Finally, Nathan McCullum decided to stage a comeback, but it was too late for the Kiwis as he along with skipper Daniel Vettori were the last recognised batsmen in their camp. Nathan carried on and even scored the team's highest individual total with 52 on board.
However, after staying at the crease for more than an hour a change in bowling foxed Nathan as he became Mitchell Johnson's third victim on 175/8 in the 42nd over. Once again the Kiwis decided to use the review and once again it proved unsuccessful.
Skipper Daniel Vettori too departed with Brett Lee claiming his wicket. He scored a resolute 44 helping the Kiwis cross 200-run mark.
Eventually New Zealand were all out for a partly 206 on the first ball of the 46th over with Shaun Tait (3-35) and Mitchell Johnson (4-33) claiming seven wicket between them.

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