2019 Cricket World Cup – Australia v New Zealand: A hard-fought, well deserved win


World Cup clashes with the little cousin are always special.


Going into Saturday night’s game against the Kiwis, the mind didn’t have to work too hard to recall the 2015 thriller at Eden Park between the two nations. A low scoring affair full of wickets, game-defining partnerships and some seriously accurate left arm pace bowling made for a breakneck affair that was never recreated. It was when both teams clashed head on at full speed. So the follow-up encounter at Lord’s promised to be a spectacle, considering both teams had suffered only one loss and were gunning for a top two spot.


Batting first once again, Warner and Finch didn’t have their usual start.


The murmurs of intrigue resounded around the famous arena when Boult’s mercurial in-swing trapped Finch in front early. Despite his great form, Finch’s kryptonite of falling over his front pad always came back to haunt him at crucial times. Guptill breathed a sigh of relief seen all over the world after getting a hand to an uppish drive from Finch just a couple of overs earlier.


But Guptill’s relief was short lasted. Khawaja’s first ball caused a nick. Diving again. Hand outstretched. Ball bouncing onto the manicured grass. Boult was wreaking havoc, getting balls to leap at Warner’s throat. But he wasn’t getting the rewards he deserved and that New Zealand needed. Surprise, surprise, the resistance was broken immediately when Ferguson strolled in. With long-sleeves and a laconic run-up of days gone by, Ferguson ripped a bouncer in first ball to catch Warner’s glove. He and Starc have been the best bowlers in the tournament. Now Smith had to handle the pace of the Kiwi.


He seemed set. Setting up for a pull shot, he timed the pants off it only for Guptill to redeem all of his sins with a diving one handed catch at short fine leg. Remarkable. Advantage New Zealand. Catches like that tend to lead to wins.


Stoinis came in. Intending to meet fire with fire, he blazed away, giving chances but flirting with danger several times. Mixing convincing strokes with unsure swats, he finally was undone by a lovely Neesham out-swinger.


Khawaja still remained at the crease, solid as a rock. He continued to plod along even when Maxwell caused groans to erupt in many Australian living rooms with a shockingly mistimed pull shot. The 2015 Eden Park clash was beginning to be relived before our very eyes.


However, Carey wasn’t there for that. Neither was Khawaja. Usman continued to take the anchor role, capitalising on a Latham drop. Carey batted with the freedom he has held the entire tournament, timing crisp drives through the covers. A delightful arc of his bat sent the ball flying to the ropes with minimal effort. Clever reverse-sweeps showed his nous.


Belying the conditions and previous wickets, he took the attack to Ferguson and de Grandhomme. Khawaja accumulated runs, building a partnership that would see both of them pass 50. Despite making less runs, Carey was the star. A wonderful innings of counter-attacking strokes and easy punches suddenly took Australia past 200, and shifted the momentum immensely. The tail worked with Khawaja to bring the score to a low yet competitive 243, thanks to some clever Cummins shots. A Boult hat-trick ended the innings quickly. The score had been set.


Unlike Australia’s blistering opening spell against England, the Kiwi openers started with more promise. Guptill looked dangerous. The good start crumbled, Nicholls gloving a shocking delivery for the first wicket. But Williamson was in. His form could finish the game quickly.


But he lost his trusted ally in Guptill who finally fell to Behrendorff’s massive in-swingers. Williamson was put down off Lyon and the tide swung New Zealand’s way. It was shaping up to be a classic.


Cometh the moment, cometh the Starc. The tournament’s form bowler came back into the attack and stopped New Zealand in their tracks. The immediate wicket of Williamson for 40 changed the match’s complexion. Cummins’ restrictive bowling gifted him a well-deserved wicket, frustrating Taylor into a shocking shot.


Smith then came on for a random trundle. Amazingly, the first ball of his second over removed de Grandhomme. From being 2 for 100, a ripper catch from Smith meant the Kiwis dropped to 6 for 126. Australia’s bowling and fielding effort was outshining New Zealand’s.


From there, Lyon took a wicket and the tail crumbled to Starc’s magnificence. The fielding intensity and bowling discipline of the Aussies was improved. Their batting fortitude despite their poor start was admirable. Now, they can sit pretty in the top two and prepare for a semi-final clash. There’s an air of excitement building.


Australia – 9/ 243 (50 overs)

Khawaja         88 (129 balls)                                     Boult 4/ 51 (10 overs)

Carey              71 (72)                                                Neesham 2/ 28 (6)

Cummins       23 not out (19)                                   Ferguson 2/ 49 (10)


New Zealand – 157 all out (43.4)

Williamson 40 (51)                                                    Starc 5/ 26 (9.4)

Taylor          30 (54)                                                   Behrendorff 2/ 31 (9)

Guptill        20 (43)                                                    Smith 1/ 6 (2)




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  1. Sean, the Aussies have now won a couple of games they maybe shouldn’t have after posting only moderate scores. The bowlers have certainly earned their money. It will be interesting to see how our lads fare when batting second and chasing solid to high targets. That’s a different ballgame altogether.

  2. Well summed up Ian, although our chaps have been able to consistently take the points, there still is improvement needed. Middle order still playing too many “get themselves out shots”. Isn’t Carey a beauty?

    It’s amazing how often one of the commentators heaps praises on how well a batsman is going, only to see him dismissed almost immediately. I must confess I find Michael Clarke’s commentary somewhat annoying. Perhaps it’s just his voice. Love the way Starc’s radar has finally clicked into place.

    Anyway, for the Aussies to take out the big prize, they’ll need to come out with all guns blazing. England, New Zealand and India will not be easy beats. Who knows what team the Pakis will field. At their best they are extremely formidable but can, at the drop of a hat, implode.

  3. Rulebook says

    I have seen every,SA keeper since,73 ( yes I am one of those aliens who regularly attend shield games )
    I have no hesitation in naming,Carey the best I admit I was stunned when he made a couple of v v rare wicket keeping blunders unfortunately sand paper gate is delaying his baggy green debut he’s a ripper and quality person as well.Australia in with a chance but need more from the batting group as a whole thanks,Sean

  4. I agree with all three of you.
    Carey is a star who deserves to get a go in the baggy green – his batting is definitely better than Paine’s.
    Our batting is struggling at times but at least we have never truly crumbled. In times of distress multiple bats have stepped up to post a defendable total rather than falling away.
    One thing I will say is that the batting and bowling have both fluctuated in form. Think against Bangladesh and Pakistan where they let the opposition score big totals. Oh, and India of course.
    But now they seem to be bowling excellently – so let’s just hope the batsmen can hold up their end of the bargain!

  5. Andrew Starkie says

    Eng top6 is very good, although Roy was fortunate last night and Morgan has lost his cool. Stokes is a gun. They’ll beat NZ and will take some beating from there. Our batsmen are a bit up and down, as mentioned above.

  6. Richard Smith says

    Thanks for the report Sean, much appreciated

  7. I agree Andrew – an in-form England is still the favourite for me. Plunkett back in is vital for them.

    Thanks Richard, always happy to write :)

  8. This tournament is shaping up very nicely.

    Alex Carey is going to make one hell of a #7 batsman in the Test team. I reckon T Paine might move on after this summer.

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