World Cup: Aussies rout England by 7 wickets

Published: Monday, April 9, 2007, 11:58 [IST]
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St Peter's, Antigua, Apr 9: Spearheaded by skipper Ricky Ponting's 86, a &13;rampaging Australia drubbed England by seven wickets at Sir Vivian Richards &13;ground here to record their third straight win in the Super Eight league and &13;book a berth in the World Cup semi-finals.

Michael Vaughan elected to bat &13;after winning the toss and Kevin Pietersen scored his maiden century (104) &13;against Australia, putting up 140-run third wicket partnership with Ian Bell &13;(77) as England scored 247 before being all out in 49.5 overs.

The &13;two-time defending champions, in reply, overcame early hiccups and then made &13;light of the target scoring 248 for three in 47.2 overs.

In the process, &13;Australia took a sweet revenge of the defeats they had suffered at the hands of &13;England in the Commonwealth Bank one-day series early this year.

The &13;defeat, their second in a row, have made England's position precarious in the &13;league and they now will have to win all the remaining matches to keep their &13;hopes alive for the last four berth.

The Aussies threatened to race away &13;with their run chase as Matthew Hayden muscled his way to 41, but England just &13;about kept themselves in the match with a committed effort in the field. Andrew &13;Flintoff and Paul Collingwood both struck in their opening &13;overs.

England's pacers -- James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood -- failed to &13;contain the openers but created enough problems for them as both Hayden and &13;Gilchrist were was lucky to have survived confident LBW appeals in first couple &13;of overs.

However, Hayden and Gilchrist displayed patience as they just &13;went after the loose deliveries. They displayed no frills or buoyancy but waited &13;for the balls deserved to be hit.

Anderson's line and length was wayward &13;and was treated harshly by both openers while Mahmood was hardly effective with &13;his slower ones.

The 50 for the first wicket came in 9.3 overs (60 &13;balls), but Andrew Flintoff brought in as first change earned England the much &13;needed break through when he got rid off Gilchrist of his sixth ball. The &13;wicketkeeper-opener drove loosely and Collingwood, at point, took an easy &13;catch.

Australia thus lost their first wicket in the 11th over with score &13;reading 57. Gilchrist's contribution being 27 (5x4, 37 balls) and skipper Ricky &13;Ponting came in to join Hayden.

Vaughan brought in spinner Monty Panesar &13;from the other end and he along with Flintoff halted the Australian run &13;spree.

Ponting escaped an edge past leg stump off Flintoff but then he &13;effortlessly drove Panesar to make his presence felt.

However 32 runs &13;and 9.1 overs later Collingwood provided England with another much needed &13;breakthrough, as he with his first ball, had Hayden's stump clipped and &13;Australia were 89 for 2 in 19.1 overs.

Hayden made 41 off 50 balls &13;hitting six boundaries.

Michael Clarke joined Ponting and both took time &13;to steadied their innings and scoring became painfully slow. The Australians &13;refused to take risk as they had their plans. In next ten overs Ponting and &13;Clarke added only 33 runs to their team's total which at that stage read 134 for &13;two (after 30 overs).

But after that Ponting pressed the accelerator and &13;Clarke gave him full support from other end as England bowlers wilted under the &13;ferocious onslaught from the Aussies. The run rate which at one stage looked &13;ominous for the defending champion suddenly started moving so fast that the &13;target looked very easy.

Ponting in the process cracked his 60th one day fifty and as it looked that both &13;of them will see through the innings the Australian skipper was run out. It was &13;his mistake as he charged out for a non existent run and Colingwood's throw beat &13;him as he tried to return back to crease. The third wicket stand yielded 112 &13;runs. The skipper made 86 off 106 balls hitting eleven boundaries and the &13;defending champion were 201 for three.

Clarke and Andrew Symonds put up &13;undefeated 47 runs for the fourth wicket to take Australia to an easy win. &13;Clarke scored 55 (63 balls, 2x4), his 24th half century in the ODIs, while &13;Symonds chipped in with 28 off 28 balls hitting four &13;boundaries.

Australia now have eight points, including two which they had &13;earned in the group league while England has only two.

Earlier, England &13;failed to captalise on the 140- run third wicket partnership between Ian Bell &13;(77) and Pietersen as they lost next seven wickets for just 83 runs in 20.2 &13;overs.

England failed to capitalise on the 140-run third wicket &13;partnership between Ian Bell (77) and Pietersen as they lost next seven wickets &13;for just 83 runs in 20.2 overs.

After the third wicket stand, England &13;were reeling at 179 for five but Pietersen and Ravi Bopara (21) added 51-run for &13;the sixth wicket to see England cross the 200-mark, as seven other batsmen &13;failed to cross the double digit.

The pace trio of Nathan Bracken, Shaun &13;Tait and Glenn McGrath claimed three wickets each for Australia.

Kevin &13;Pietersen was one batsman Australia feared above all others and Ricky Ponting &13;had made his intention clear that his bowlers would target the batsman's ribs. &13;But Pietersen simply appeared to pick up from where he had left off at Melbourne &13;this January.

Playing in his 48th ODI, Pietersen reached his fourth 100 &13;off 117 balls with the help of one six and six boundaries.

After England &13;had lost two quick wickets at 24, Kevin Pietersen steadied the innings with a &13;rapid 140-run stand with opener Ian Bell.

But after Bell's dismissal, &13;Australian regained the control of the proceedings but Pietersen kept defying &13;them. He was seventh batsmen to get out when the score was 240. He fell to &13;Bracken. His 104 came off 122 balls (1x6,6x4).

And the rest of the &13;batsmen fell by the way side.


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