World Cup: Australia canter to a seven-wicket win over NZ

Australian openers Brad Haddin and Shane Watson saw that the advantage gained by their bowlers did not go waste as they blasted the New Zealand bowlers to help the defending champions record a comfortable seven-wicket victory over the Black Caps in their Group A World Cup match at the VCA ground in Jamtha here today.

Needing 207 to win in 50 overs, the Australian batsmen led by their openers made light of the target reaching 207 for three in just 34 overs to register their second consecutive win.

For the New Zealanders it was their first loss in two matches.

At the end, Michael Clarke (24) and Cameron White (22) were at the crease when the winning runs were hit.

It was carnage from the Australian openers. Haddin punctuated his violent hits with some sweetly-timed drives to waltz through to a half-century while Watson heaved, slugged, muscled, thumped and carved his way to a merry fifty.

The best shot of the day came from Haddin when he unfurled a gorgeous drive, straight against Nathan McCullum. He leaned forward to an off break to caress it through extra cover.

Haddin reserved his best for Tim Southee, as he smeared through mid-off, dragged past square-leg, flayed through covers, carved over point and crashed over mid-off to collect 24 runs from 16 Southee deliveries.

Even as Haddin released his foot off the pedal after he crossed 50, Watson flexed his muscles. He was on 11 from 21 balls and reached 23 from 37 before he started to boss around the New Zealand attack.

He got going in the 14th over against Nathan McCullum, cutting a four and hammering a six over mid-wicket and bludgeoned Daniel Vettori for three fours in the 16th over.

Both fell in the 19th over, bowled by Hamish Bennett to leave Australia on 136 for 2 but by then the chase was all but over. Haddin pulled a slow bouncer to deep mid-wicket after making 55 of 50 balls which was inclusive of eight boundaries and Watson chopped one on to his stumps when on 62 of 61 balls with six fours and a six to provide some joy to New Zealand, who were under the hammer today from Australia's batsmen and bowlers.

Earlier in the day, the Australian pace trio of Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait blew the New Zealand top order away before a rearguard action from Nathan McCullum and captain Daniel Vettori helped the Kiwis post a competitive score of 206.

Putting New Zealand in to bat on winning the toss, Ricky Ponting's pacers responded to the challenge in a telling way.

Though the Kiwis hit eleven fours in the first 12 overs but they also kept losing wickets. Brendon McCullum, who unfurled couple of fierce upper cuts against Tait, threw his bat at a full delivery well outside off, but edged it to third man.

Jesse Ryder, who laced a few classy pulls against Johnson, stabbed a delivery that held its line outside off, to the wicketkeeper.

James Franklin, looking out of place at No 5, chased a wide delivery from Johnson to give Haddin another catch. Scott Styris edged a wide and short delivery from Tait to Haddin and Ross Taylor played all around a full delivery from Tait to lose his off stump.

The pitch played its part in the dismissal of Martin Guptill, which proved to be a turning point of the innings as well. Guptill had just begun to get going after taking 19 deliveries to get off the mark, when he was late to get on the front foot to a delivery from Watson that shot through low under the bat to bowl him.

When Guptill fell in the ninth over, New Zealand were 40 for 2 but it was the beginning of the end. By the 17th over, after the fall of Taylor, they were tottering at 73 for 6.

Nathan McCullum then first with Jamie How put on 48 runs for the seventh wicket before How fell for 22 to the leg spin of Steve Smith and then put on 54 for the eighth wicket with Daniel Vettori before McCullum himself fell for a well made 52 in in 76 balls with three boundaries to leave New Zealand on 175 for eight.

Vettori continued his good form with bat taking New Zealand past the 200-mark making 44 before being caught behind by Haddin of Brett Lee as New Zealand folded up for 206 all out in 45.1 overs.


New Zealand:

Martin Guptill b Watson 10

Brendon McCullum c Krejza b Tait 16

Jesse Ryder c Haddin b Johnson 25

Ross Taylor b Tait 7

James Franklin c Haddin b Johnson 0

Scott Styris c Haddin b Tait 0

Jamie How lbw b Smith 22

Nathan McCullum lbw b Johnson 52

Daniel Vettori c Haddin b Lee 44

Tim Southee c Ponting b Johnson 6

Hamish Bennett not out 0

Extras: (b 1, lb 8, w 13, nb 2) 24

Total: (in 45.1 overs) 206 all out

Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-40, 3-66, 4-66, 5-67, 6-73,

7-121, 8-175, 9-206, 10-206

Bowling: Brett Lee 8-2-29-1, Shaun Tait 7-0-35-3, Mitchell

Johnson 9.1-3-33-4, Shane Watson 3-1-9-1, Jason Krejza

9-0-47-0, Steven Smith 9-044-1


Shane Watson b Bennett 62

Brad Haddin c Franklin b Bennett 55

Ricky Ponting st McCullum b Southee 12

Michael Clarke not out 24

Cameron White not out 22

Extras: (3 lb, 29 w) 32

Total: (in 34 overs) 207 for three

Fall of wickets: 1-133, 2-136, 3-167


Tim Southee 10-2-45-1, Daniel Vettori 7-0-39-0,

Hamish Bennett 7-0-63-2, Nathan McCullum 3-0-22-0,

Jesse Ryder 5-0-24-0, James Franklin 2-0-11-0.


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