Mumbai: It’s official. Australia would play to win but not attach undue importance to the DLF Cup. The side’s think-mill continues its steadfast fidelity to rotational policy.
After Mitchell Johnson, it is Matthew Hayden’s done to mark time in the wings even after an unblemished act against India. Not many teams are capable of stoic indifference to a player’s last performance. But Hayden’s absence hasn’t dithered them from acing to 240/6 in the finals of the DLF Cup. Given Australia’s poignant attack, this score could be worth 270 if they prize early wickets.
Australia has gone into the match with three frontline bowlers: Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken. Brad Hogg, who had muffled India in his tangled web, has been left to cool his heels. West Indies have persisted with Runako Morton; Fidel Edwards has been left out.
Australia’s start was by no means of an apple-pie order. They held back the tornado-like march and early initiatives that mark their game-cult.
After Shane Watson perished to Ian Bradshaw, Australia garnered runs with an uncharacteristic statesmanlike prudence. It must be said that both Bradshaw and Dwayne Smith stifled the openers with their probing length.
Ricky Ponting didn’t find his bearings in the tournament. Making a rare misjudgement of length, he was trapped plumb to Jerome Taylor. With the captain back in the hut, it was fait accompli for Brian Lara.
Simon Katich looks like a forlorn lover syringed with glucose bottles. It was prod and nudge for most part of his innings, though in between, he tried to ramp up the intensity and dispatched a Bravo-delivery for a huge six towards long off.
His excruciating lumber in the middle ended after he tried to ladle Chris Gayle to long-off where Samuels took the catch inches off the ground.
Walked in Damien Martyn, the right-handed avatar of David Gower. Piercing the offside with the fiat of his silken grace, he held the innings together. He and Andrew Symonds vaccinated against an impending middle-order collapse that has plagued Australia throughout the tournament.
Symonds who has had a rather lukewarm tournament, unleashed the full horsepower of his strokes, scything Dwayne Bravo for a six and a four in the 36th over to pronounce this intentions. In fact, at one stage, Australia plundered 20 runs of 6 balls with Symonds motoring along in the fifth gear.
However, after weaving together a partnership of 73, both Martyn and perished on identical scores. At 173/5, West Indies had a realistic chance of containing the Baggy Greens within a chase-able total.
Lara used Ramnaresh Sarwan who bowled a containing line from round the wicket. Though he got the wicket of Symonds and Michael Clarke, he was persisted for one over too many as he felt the heat of Michael Hussey’s forearm tendons in the slog.
Australia scored 75 runs in the last 10 overs which may not be humungous but they have ended up with a formidable score of 240.
If West Indies can play out the early overs, we could have a close contest.
Live Score, News & WC 2019 Updates