WC 2003 - Bichel~~s 7-wicket spell rocks England, 204 for eight
Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
England captain Hussain opts to bat against Australia
Port Elizabeth: Australia's Andy Bichel registered the second best ever World Cup bowling performance on Sunday when his seven for 20 kept Australia on course for a record-breaking 12th successive One-day International win over England. England could only reach 204 for eight off its 50 overs in its Group A match at St George's Park as 32-year-old Bichel and his teammates, who are already through to the Super Sixes and are looking for their 14th straight One-day victory against England, showed their oldest foes no mercy. Only playing because Jason Gillespie was still suffering from the Achilles injury that kept him out of Thursday's record 256-run win against Namibia - where Glenn McGrath claimed a World Cup record seven for 15 - Bichel's figures surpassed the five for 19 he took against South Africa in Sydney in 2002. "I missed the last World Cup and was looking forward to this one and worked hard to get here," said Bichel. "The conditions obviously helped me but stepping into the shoes of someone like Gillespie is not easy. He has big shoes, big shoulders and is a big man." Bichel inspired a collapse that saw England decline from 66 without loss to 74 for four before Alec Stewart and Andrew Flintoff temporarily steadied the ship with a sixth wicket stand of 90. But all-rounder Flintoff eventually became Bichel's fifth victim, caught for an 80-ball 45 off a huge skier by wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist. And Bichel, in only his third match of the tournament, confirmed Australia's dominance when he bowled Stewart for 46 to leave England 180 for seven before having Ashley Giles (2) caught by Michael Bevan at mid-off. Earlier openers Marcus Trescothick and Nick Knight batted aggressively, after captain Nasser Hussain had won the toss. Brett Lee sent down several deliveries at over 99mph but Trescothick still managed to hook him out of the ground for six. But it was first-change Bichel who stopped the rot with Knight, who made 30, guiding the Queenslander's fifth ball straight to Damien Martyn at gully before he had Michael Vaughan caught behind for two. Five balls later he clean bowled Hussain for one and then 74 for three became 74 for four when McGrath had danger man Trescothick caught by Martyn in the gully for 37. Gilchrist caught Paul Collingwood for 10 again off Bichel to leave England at 87 for five in the 18th over with the Queenslander's initial spell of 6-0-12-4 routing the top order. Defeat here would not end England's Super Six chances but would leave it needing Pakistan to beat Zimbabwe on Tuesday and then hope that its run-rate was good enough to carry it through.