Saturday, 29 January 2022

Aussies keep Kiwis waiting on semifinal berth

LONDON: New Zealand will have to wait to seal a spot in the ICC World Cup 2019 semifinal as they went down by 86 runs against Australia at Lord’s on Saturday (June 29). Set a tricky 244, New Zealand’s batting crumbled under pressure as they were shot down for just 157. They still, however, have a good chance of ending in the top four if they win their game against England. If India beat England on Sunday, New Zealand will go through with India leaving England in some doubt.

When New Zealand do sit down to reflect after the game, it’ll be the crucial moments that left them hurting. They were mercurial on the field – oscillating between stunning to mediocre. Usman Khawaja and Alex Carey helped Australia build a score after they were reduced to 92 for 5. Cary (71) and Khawaja (88 off 129) scored 107 for the sixth wicket before Trent Boult picked up the second hat-trick of this World Cup when he dismissed Khawaja, Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff in the final over.

The damage, however, had been done by then. Khawaja had been dropped by Martin Guptill at second slip even before he had opened his account. Guptill was also guilty of dropping Aaron Finch in the second over of the contest. New Zealand, though, had made a superb start with the ball. Boult had nullified the Finch threat and then Lockie Ferguson put the side on top as he bounced out David Warner and Steve Smith, who fell to a brilliant one-handed stunner by Guptill at leg gully.

Marcus Stoinis picked up three boundaries in the first 11 deliveries he faced and then fell as the boundaries dried up. Jimmy Neesham’s second blow, after Stoinis, was a big one as Maxwell pulled and ended up playing the ball back to the bowler. Australia were wobbling and were desperate with more than 28 overs to go. Khawaja dug deep and took it slow while Carey’s positive intent gave his partner the cushion to play at a comfortable pace.

Both batsmen were dropped as Tom Latham too was guilty of being lethargic. Carey eventually fell in the 43rd over as he found Guptill at cover off Williamson. Khawaja did kick on after the 45th over but the big flourish never arrived. Boult bowled Khawaja and then produced two brilliant yorkers to Starc and Behrendorff. While Starc lost his poles, there was more drama as Behrendorff reviewed the lbw call only to lose the review.


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