Australians crowned champions

Shane Watson slams measured ton to guide title holders to six-wicket victory in final

Australians crowned champions

Mike Hussey (left) and Ricky Ponting (right) congratulate Nathan Hauritz for nailing another Kiwi. AP Minus inspirational skipper Daniel Vettori, out through a hamstring injury, the Kiwis failed to make the most of stand-in captain Brendon McCullum winning the toss, stuttering to 200 for nine.

Australia were rocked as Bond and Mills winkled out Tim Paine and skipper Ricky Ponting for next to nothing, but riding on Shane Watson’s second ton in as many innings, Cameron White’s determination and huge chunks of luck early on, they rattled away to 206 for four, completing a six-wicket triumph to cap an unbeaten run in the competition.

Staring adversity

All tournament long, New Zealand have stared adversity in the face and never taken a backward step. Their spirit was eventually broken on Monday at SuperSport Park, Vettori’s absence a blow not even New Zealand’s resilience could handle.

Already without Jesse Ryder, Jacob Oram and Daryl Tuffey, Vettori’s injury was the unkindest cut because the skipper had led from the front with bat and ball, and ensured that even without key players, the Kiwis did not lapse into negativity.

There was nothing negative about their attitude early in the Australian run chase as Mills and Bond struck up a wonderful tandem. Through great swing bowling at no little pace, they were distinctly unlucky not to court further success after getting rid of Paine and Ponting cheaply.

All at sea

With the ball fizzing around and the Kiwi tails up, Watson (105 n.o., 129b, 10x4, 4x6) and White were all at sea, embarking on a regular play-and-miss routine. Once Bond and Mills completed first spells of 5-2-9-1 and 7-2-9-1 respectively – figures that did them tremendous justice – the two Ws breathed easy.

Ian Butler and James Franklin considerably eased the pressure by bowling too short and allowing Watson in particular to get on the bike and race away. Buoyed by a hundred at the same venue in the semifinal, Watson blossomed after that initial period of uncertainty, carrying White along through difficult phases in a further example of his increasing maturity at this level.

New Zealand missed a trick when McCullum dropped White on 15 out of 41 for two, a mistake Australia punished with a ruthlessness associated with them on the big occasion. By the time White fell, bowled off the inside edge, 128 (195b) had been realised for the third wicket, victory all but secured.

Australia resemble a pack of wolves closing in for the kill at the slightest hint of panic and uncertainty in the opposition ranks. Well aware of the psychological impact of Vettori’s absence, Ponting’s band bore down inexorably when New Zealand batted, a fired-up set of bowlers with Brett Lee in the forefront imposing their authority right from the off.
New Zealand had no answer to Lee’s fire, an ailing Peter Siddle’s discipline and the guile of Nathan Hauritz, who bowled above himself on a helpful surface to finish with three for 37.

Crucial partnerships

Two half-century partnerships, neither particularly entertaining but both crucial under the circumstances, were all the Kiwis had to show. After a frustrated McCullum threw his hand away, Aaron Redmond and Martin Guptill steadied the ship with painful circumspection in adding 61 (89b)

The fall of the second wicket triggered a rot of four for 28 in 49 deliveries with Hauritz getting into the act and Mitchell Johnson netting the big fish, Ross Taylor, spectacularly caught above his head to his right by a leaping Mike Hussey at point.

Lee’s potent mix of the mean inswinging yorker and the nasty short-pitched delivery necessitated Neil Broom and James Franklin to bat assiduously in putting on 65 (85b), an effort that prevented total surrender if nothing else.

Score Board

NEW ZEALAND

McCullum c Paine b Siddle    0
(14b)
Redmond st Paine b Hauritz    26
(45b, 3x4)
Guptill c & b Hussey    40
(64b, 3x4)
Taylor c Hussey b Johnson    6
(13b)
Elliott lbw Lee    9
(9b)
Broom (run out)    37
(62b, 5x4)
Franklin b Lee    33
(43b, 4x4)
Mills (run out)    12
(15b, 1x4)
Butler lbw Hauritz    6
(7b, 1x4)
Patel (not out)    16
(19b, 1x3)
Bond (not out)    3
(9b)
Extras (B-1, LB-2, W-9)    12
Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs)    200
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (McCullum), 2-66 (Redmond), 3-77 (Guptill), 4-81 (Taylor), 5-94 (Elliott), 6-159 (Broom), 7-166 (Franklin), 8-174 (Butler), 9-187 (Mills).
Bowling: Brett Lee 10-1-45-2 (w-5), Peter Siddle 10-1-30-1, Mitchell Johnson 10-1-35-1 (w-1), Shane Watson 10-0-50-0 (w-2), Nathan Hauritz 10-0-37-3 (w-1).
Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 22/1; Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 28/0; Power Play 3 (batting): 39-43 overs: 40/2.

AUSTRALIA

Watson (not out)    105
(129b, 10x4, 4x6)
Paine c Taylor b Bond    1
(6b)
Ponting lbw Mills    1
(4b)
White b Mills    62
(102b, 7x4, 1x6)
Hussey c Patel b Mills    11
(9b, 1x4)
Hopes (not out)    22
(22b, 4x4)
Extras (LB-3, W-1)    4

Total (for 4 wkts, 45.2 overs)    206
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Paine), 2-6 (Ponting), 3-134 (White), 4-156 (Hussey).
Bowling: Mills 10-2-27-3, Bond 10-2-34-1 (w-1), Butler 9-0-50-0, Franklin 9-0-42-0, Patel 6.2-0-44-0, Elliott 1-0-6-0.

Runs during: Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 18/2; Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 16/0; Power Play 3 (batting): 46-50 overs: 12/0.

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