Proud Aussies prove a point

In that period, they have gone unbeaten at two World Cups, apart from winning the 2006 Champions Trophy in Mumbai, and find themselves one win away from becoming the first team to clinch this title more than once.

“The Australian team prides itself on standing up in big moments,” Ricky Ponting said on Friday night, minutes after his side crushed England by nine wickets in the semifinals. “What we try and do around our side is have a really good mix of youth and experience. If you look at our side now, myself, Mike Hussey and Brett Lee are the more experienced guys, the younger guys are learning and finding their feet, doing a very good job.”
The Aussie skipper lashed an unbeaten century, as did Shane Watson, as England’s 257 was made to appear miniscule. The defending champions reached the target in 41.5 overs with Watson cracking an unbeaten 136 while Ponting remained undeafeated on 111.

 “We have been talking about playing at a level that is going to get us through in big games,” Ponting observed. “Right from the England series, we were focussing on being well prepared for the Champions Trophy, about getting ourselves in a position where we can play our best cricket when it matters. The aim was to peak for this tournament, and we are heading in the right direction, but we won’t be happy until we peak in the final.”
Ponting has an exceptional record in big matches, leading from the front in many an Aussie win in significant tournaments. “I was particularly keen to get out there and play well today,” he noted.

The hiccup against Pakistan, when Australia left it until the penultimate ball to secure semifinal qualification, steeled Ponting to bat through the run chase.
“I certainly learnt the other day not to take anything for granted in the game,” he conceded. “That was one thing I stressed to the guys this morning as well -- every ball we bowl, every ball we face or every ball we field, we have got to show a 100 percent commitment to. We probably got away from that a little bit in the later half of the Pakistan game and it almost cost us.”
Asked which of New Zealand or Pakistan he preferred to face in the final, Ponting replied, “It doesn’t matter to us. In these tournaments, you have to beat the best teams, you want to beat the best teams. We will start our preparations once we know who we are coming up against.”

Strauss disappointed

“If you live by the sword, you die by it,” Andrew Strauss said after England’s abortive ultra-aggressive top-order batting effectively sealed the their fate.
England were six for 101 in 20.2 overs as every batsman went for his shots. “We were definitely keen to go out and play our shots on a good wicket, unfortunately it didn't come off for us today,” said England skipper Strauss.

“It's one of those things, it's frustrating. When you lose six for 100 on that sort of surface, you're always struggling. Thanks to Bresnan and Wright, we weren't completely out of it at the halfway mark, but I did think it was a wicket on which 300 was the par score.

DH News Service

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