Potchefstroom: Reigning champions Australia beat minnows the Netherlands by 75 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-interrupted World Cup Group 'A' match on Thursday.
Damien Martyn's unbeaten 67 at North West Stadium saw the tournament favourites to 170 for two from 36 overs. But, due to the weather, this left the Dutch needing to score 198 off 36 overs for victory. Despite enthusiastic support, they finished well short on 122 all out and never looked like repeating their famous 1964 win over Australia at The Hague.
Andy Bichel, called up for this match in place of rested speedster Brett Lee, took three for 13. Dutch captain Roland Lefebvre, the former Somerset and Glamorgan quick, was 14 not out after Jacob Jan Esmeijer was caught in the slips by Australia skipper Ricky Ponting for nought. "It was important for us to get the points after the sort of weather we had today," said Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.
"We were aware of the rain rules so we made sure we batted the last six or seven overs without losing a wicket and then we had to make sure we bowled all of our overs. "We have played some good cricket in this tournament and we want to keep it going in our next match in Bulawayo." It might just have been a different story had not Feiko Kloppenburg dropped a difficult return chance of his first ball when Martyn was on one.
In reply, the amateurs lost opener Daan van Bunge (1) to the ninth ball of their innings, caught at first slip by Martyn off Jason Gillespie. Gillespie struck again to have Bas Zuiderent (5), caught behind by stand-in keeper Jimmy Maher, playing in place of the rested Adam Gilchrist, as the Dutch collapsed to 18 for two. Luuk van Troost (23) went boldly, giving Andy Bichel a catch at deep mid-wicket after lofting part-time spinner Darren Lehmann. And when left-armer Lehmann had his second wicket, Klaas van Noortwijk lbw for 13, it was 59 for four.
However Tim de Leede, who earlier took two for 34, struck the first six of the match, Lehmann hoisted over long-off. But Bichel's pace was too much for de Leede, caught behind by the seamer's Queensland team-mate Maher for 24, the Netherlands 85 for five in the 22nd over and well on the way to defeat. Reinout Scholte was then lbw to Bichel before Edgar Schiferli lofted Ian Harvey for six. But next ball medium-pacer Harvey, replacing spinner Brad Hogg in what was Australia's third of three team changes, clean bowled Schiferli for nine. Medium-pacer de Leede, who took four for 35 against India, again bowled effectively.
Meanwhile recalled left-arm spinner Esmeijer also did well, his five 'death' overs costing just 16. But it was first change de Leede who made the breakthrough when, with the last ball of his first over, he had Maher (26) caught at slip by van Bunge to leave Australia 52 for one in the 13th. Fellow seamer Kloppenburg then agonisingly failed to hold a low left-handed chance off Martyn as the batsman checked a drive.
But de Leede had a second wicket when Hayden holed out tamely to Schiferli on the midwicket boundary for an unusually slow 60-ball 33. Martyn's 76-ball innings included six fours with Lehmann 29 not out. The start was delayed by an hour after water spilt on to the pitch as the covers were being removed and a police helicopter was summoned to help dry the surface. Copyright AFP 2001