Port Elizabeth: Andrew Bichel starred with both bat and ball to guide reigning champion Australia to a record 12th successive One-day victory when it defeated a battling England by two wickets in the World Cup on Sunday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Bichel took seven for 20, the second-best figures in World Cup history, before his unbeaten 34 off 36 balls helped Michael Bevan, 74 not out, put on 73 for the eighth wicket as Australia won with two deliveries to spare.Australia, chasing England's seemingly modest 204 for eight, collapsed to 29 for four and later to 135 for eight.It needed 13 off 11 balls when Bichel hoisted James Anderson for a huge six and next ball drove him for four.England captain Nasser Hussain somehow chose not to bowl out Andrew Caddick even though the Somerset paceman had routed the top order with four for 35 in nine overs.Australia needed just two off the final over, bowled by Andrew Flintoff. With four balls left Flintoff failed to cling onto a fiercely hit Bichel drive. A Michael Vaughan misfield then gifted Australia a single before Bevan hit the winning runs. Bevan hit six fours and one six to see Australia into the Super Sixes with an all-win record and to a 14th One-day win in a row against England. Hussain's men must now hope Pakistan beat Zimbabwe on Tuesday and that its run rate is superior to the Asian giants'.A Zimbabwe victory will knock England out.Bichel, standing in for the injured Jason Gillespie who 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 - easily surpassed his previous best of five for 19 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." Caddick made a treble breakthrough as Australia stuttered to 33 for three in the fifth over. First Matthew Hayden skied the New Zealand-born quick to mid-off where left-arm spinner Ashley Giles, recalled for this match in place of Ronnie Irani, held the catch.Next to fall to the 34-year-old Caddick was Adam Gilchrist who guided the Somerset quick straight to third man where Vaughan clung on at the second attempt.And three balls later Damien Martyn was leg before for nought.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting then became Caddick's fourth victim when, two balls after hooking him for six, he holed out to fine-leg where Giles took another well-judged catch.Australia was now 48 for four in the ninth over and England was on the brink of an impressive comeback.But Darren Lehmann and Bevan's partnership of 63 wrested back control before medium-pacer Craig White had his brother-in-law Lehmann (37) well caught by diving wicket-keeper Alec Stewart to leave Australia 111 for five in the 29th over.
It soon became 135 for 8 in the 38th before Bevan justified his reputation as the best One-day batsman in the world.Earlier, Bichel inspired a collapse that saw England decline from 66 without loss to 74 for four before Stewart and 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 Gilchrist. And Bichel, in only his third match of the tournament, then bowled Stewart for 46 to leave England 180 for seven before having Giles caught by Bevan at mid-off.Copyright AFP 2001