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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Australia steamroll New Zealand to consolidate top spot, Mitchell Starc stars again

Australia, World Cup defending champions, have consolidated their top spot in the points table, with 14 points from eight matches. New Zealand are in third spot with 11 points from eight matches.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: June 30, 2019 1:32:31 am
Mitchell Starc exults as Kane Williamson is dismissed at Lord’s on Saturday (Reuters Photo)

Australia beat New Zealand by 86 runs at Lord’s in London on Saturday. With this win, the defending champions of the World Cup have consolidated their top spot in the points table, with 14 points from eight matches. New Zealand are in third spot with 11 points from eight matches. Mitchell Starc took five wickets in the Kiwi innings after Usman Khawaja and Alex Carey rescued the Australian innings.

Toss: Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bat first. Kane Williamson, who lost a rare toss, said he would have liked to bat first too.

First Innings: Australia posted 243/9 in 50 overs. Usman Khawaja played a patient knock of 88 for Australia after a top order collapse. Aaron Finch (8) was caught lbw by Trent Boult early on. David Warner (16) then was cleaned up by Lockie Ferguson with his first ball of the day to leave Australia struggling early on. Steve Smith (5) was then sent back to the pavilion courtesy a stunning diving catch by Martin Guptill as Australia found themselves in crisis at 46/3. Marcus Stoinis stuck around for a while, building a partnership with Khawaja, but he was caught behind on 21. Glenn Maxwell (1) also departed soon after, leaving Australia looking down the barrell at 92/5. Alex Carey (71) then came up with a sensational knock as he added more than 100 runs with Khawaja and stabilized the innings. Khawaja failed to kick on after Carey’s wicket but the headlines were stolen by a last over hat-trick by Trent Boult (4/51).

Second Innings: New Zealand never looked like they were making a serious charge for the target, except when Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor were batting. Henry Nicholls was out after a tentative 8 as New Zealand’s opening woes in the World Cup continued. Martin Guptill (20) looked good but was caught lbw by Behrendorff soon after. Kane Williamson (40) and Taylor then combined to steady the innings before Starc induced an edge off Williamson’s bat. Ross Taylor (30) then skied a delivery that was caught by the keeper as the Kiwis lost way. Mitchell Starc (5/26) was also on a hat-trick but was denied by No. 11 Trent Boult himself.

Gamechanger: The 107-run partnership between Alex Carey and Usman Khawaja stabilized the Australian innings at a time when it looked like they would struggle to reach even 200. Carey joined Khawaja with the score at 92/5 and the side in deep crisis. As Khawaja played the role of the sheet anchor, Carey was happy to play his strokes – living up to his high billing. Steve Waugh had recently called him a ‘hybrid between Michael Bevan and Michael Hussey’.

Brief Scores: AUS 243/9 (50 overs) | NZ 157 all out (43.4 overs)

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