Saturday, April 14, 2007

Clippings: Australia outplay Ireland

Defending champions Australia stormed into the World Cup semifinal with another thumping win on Friday, pushing Ireland aside by nine wickets after bowling the mainly amateur side out for 91.
Having comfortably beaten better sides than the last place Irish in the Super 8s, Ponting's team could have taken it easy against an emerging team which has reached this stage in cricket's premier one-day competition for the first time.
But that's not the Australian way.
Within a few minutes of the opening delivery at Kensington Oval, the Irish were reeling at three wickets down for two runs. Soon it became four wickets for 12 and only some token defiance by Kevin O'Brien (16 runs), team captain Trent Johnston (17) and John Mooney (23) stopped the Irish heading for the record books as championship low scorers _ Canada scored 36 all out against Sri Lanka in 2003.
Though wayward with 11 wides, Shaun Tait took 3-39 and almost had a hat-trick in his second over while the dependable Glenn McGrath finished 3-17.
With only 92 runs to get, Ponting gave out-of-touch Michael Hussey time in the middle by promoting him to opener and he and Adam Gilchrist raced to 62 inside nine overs before the only Australian wicket fell.
Gilchrist was out for 34, beaten by a standout delivery from Johnston that nipped back to strike middle stump and the Australian-born Irish captain danced a jig of delight.
Andrew Symonds was also pushed up the order to score 15 off nine balls and Hussey went on to make 30 not out, finishing the match with a six over midwicket.
The seventh victory in a row - including four in the Super 8s second round - meant that Ricky Ponting's team has 10 points which puts it out of reach of fifth place England. That guarantees it a top four finish in the Super 8s, which still has two rounds of games to go, and all Australia wants to know is who it will face in the semifinal.
``I think we've got a good record over the years of stringing together consecutive wins, whether it be test matches or one-day cricket,'' said Ponting, whose team has won 19 World Cup games in a row going back to the 1999 final.
``We've got a very good run going at the moment. I couldn't be happier with where a lot of the guys are at with their one-day skills,'' Ponting said. ``It's just about our attitude being right for the rest of the tournament. I think you're going to see us play some very good cricket.''
The semifinals are in Jamaica (April 24) and St. Lucia (April 25) with the final in Barbados (April 28).
While it will be a surprise if Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa don't join the Aussies in the semifinals, England still has an outside chance but needs to win both its final games against South Africa and host West Indies.

1 comment:

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