Australia Storm to Super Six

Published: Wednesday, June 2, 1999, 5:30 [IST]
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On Sunday, at the World Cup 1999, Australia seemed to have done a great favor to the West Indies in an important group 'B' league match. Australia consumed 40.4 overs to reach a victory target of 111 runs losing four wickets.

They are now in the Super Six.Even an average arithmetic student could understand the purpose behind Australia's approach while chasing the target. According to the rules of the cup championship, a qualifier would take all the points earned against other two qualifiers from a chosen group. In Australia's case, though they have qualified, they had lost to Pakistan, who are already there in the Super Six sector and also to New Zealand.

So, in case New Zealand make it to the next stage, Australia will not be having any point in their kitty. Should West Indies qualify then Australia would go to the Super Six with two points in their pocket. Now, after the Sunday's match, both Australia and the West Indies were enjoying greater Net Run Rate than New Zealand.

Thus New Zealand who will meet Scotland on Monday are forced to record a huge victory so as to push the West Indies out of the championship.

Australia, with net run rate of 0.731 has six points. The West Indies (0.497) also have six points. New Zealand (0.0001) have four and are the favorites to swell their tally by another two points from the lowly placed Scotland (zero point from four matches) on Monday.

Yet New Zealand have to reveal something extraordinary to improve their Net Run Rate to edge out the West Indies. A tall order demand indeed. The Australia-West Indies match on Sunday was a bowler-dominated encounter.

The Australian paceman Glen McGrath (8.4-3-14-5) broke the back of the West Indies while the crafty Shane Warne returned enviable figures of 10-4-11-3 to contain West Indies for 110 in 46.4 overs. The longest spell for such a poor total. Ridley Jacobs, the West Indian opener, who has been displaying his wares in no uncertain terms in this World Cup, was there till the end (49 not out, 142 balls, 3x4). S. Chandrapaul (16) was the only other batsman to have crossed two-figures.

Of course there were 22 extras including 18 wides and one no ball). All those who might have entertained hopes of witnessing a "brisk" Australian victory were in for a shock. The seasoned West Indian paceman Curtly Ambrose (10-0-31-3) put up an inspiring show to send Australia reeling to 62 for four.

The other bowlers were really earnest in their job. Anyway, the fact remained that the West Indian bowlers were defending a weak total. Australia's fifth wicket pair of skipper Steve Waugh (19 not out, 73 balls, 2 fours) and Michael Bevan (20 not out, 73 balls, 2 fours) was in no hurry.

The two occupied the crease so stubbornly that suddenly the viewers wondered whether they were watching a five-day Test match that was heading for a tame finish. At last, Mervyn Dillon, in the 41st over, bowled a wide and a no ball in succession to bring the curtains down on this laboriously fought match at Old Trafford.


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