Aussies brush Canadians aside
Australia moved to the top of Group A as they completed a seven-wicket demolition of Canada in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Ricky Ponting’s men remain unbeaten in the tournament after they comfortably chased down their target of 212 with 15 overs remaining.
The Australians have one group match remaining, when they take on Pakistan on Saturday. They have plenty of work to do ahead of that assignment, as they were still scratchy at times against the Canadians.
A 183-run stand from openers Brad Haddin and Shane Watson meant the Australian run chase became a mere formality in the end, but both rode their luck early in their innings.
Ponting also remains a concern after he gave away his wicket at the end of a dying match. Watson and Haddin’s good work meant that both Ponting and the rest of the batsmen were again denied the chance of a decent stint out in the middle.
HINTS OF FRAILTY
Earlier in the day, the Aussie bowling and fielding also showed some hints of frailty after they were asked to field first.
Nonetheless, the men in yellow bowled out Canada for 211 in 45.4 overs as the underdogs lost their last eight wickets for 61 runs.
It was a disappointing score for Canada, given that they’d rocketed along at 10 an over early in their innings. They were still well-placed at 150/2 in the 29th over, but ultimately their batting didn’t have the depth or resolve to build on that.
Hiral Patel got the Canadians off to a dream start after his captain Ashish Bagai won the toss and decided to bat in Bangalore.
That positive choice – quite surprising after Canada’s extremely cynical run ‘chase’ against New Zealand on the weekend – clearly inspired opener Patel to take the game to Australia.
Quicks Brett Lee and Shaun Tait were severly punished in the early going, as Patel brought up Canada’s 50 in just five overs.
But by that stage Patel’s partner John Davison was already gone, and the Canadian rate had slowed somewhat by the time Patel was caught at third man in the 12th over.
COLLAPSE AFTER REBUILDING
With a healthy 82 runs on the board, though, Zubin Surkari and Bagai could afford to rebuild things without worrying too much about the scoring rate.
The third-wicket pair took the total on to 150 by the 29th over, which laid a firm platform. Unfortunately for Canada, Bagai was then caught behind and the wheels really came off.
From 150/2 Canada collapsed to a score of 169/7, as the Australian speedsters finally got the upper hand. Surkari bore the brunt of that, when he was floored by a full toss from Tait and then clean bowled by the next delivery.
The tail added a few more runs, but was unable to take the Canadians further than 211.
Patel’s 45-ball innings of 54 was the only effort of any real note in the Canadian knock.
Lee ended the day with four wickets as the rest of the bowlers shared the spoils, but in truth the Canadian top and middle order fell mostly through playing the wrong shot to the wrong delivery.
Australia did not look entirely sharp with the ball, sending down 11 wides, and were not at their best in the field either. A more established side might well have punished them a great deal more than Canada did.
Exactly the same could be said of the Australian batting effort. Haddin and Watson took their team to within sight of the win, but both should have been back in the pavilion much earlier.
Canada missed chances to catch Watson in the sixth and 12th over, and they would have had Haddin stumped in the 20th if keeper Bagai hadn’t fumbled the ball as he removed the bails.
Haddin was also lucky to get away with a couple of streaky shots early on, as Henry Osinde bowled well without reward.
Once they’d had their lives, though, there was no stopping the Aussie openers. They were both cautious for the first 20 overs, accumulating their way to their half-centuries, but after that they cut loose.
Watson’s hitting was particularly memorable, as he hit four sixes including the biggest of the tournament at 104 metres.
Both players were eventually caught out within sight of their centuries, with Watson making 94 off 90 balls and Haddin scoring 88 from 84.
There was little left for Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting to do once they teamed up with the score at 185/2, and just one further wicket went down as Ponting pulled Osinde gently to mid-wicket to be caught for seven.
“I think we showed a bit of improvement with ball today,” said Ponting. “But they did catch us on the hop with the way they started their innings.
“But then Watson and Haddin were outstanding at the top of the batting order.
“Results have gone our way so far but we probably haven’t been fully tested yet. Pakistan will give us that test.”
Australia – Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Cameron White, Mike Hussey, Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Jason Krejza, Shaun Tait
Canada – Hiral Patel, John Davison, Zubin Surkari, Ashish Bagai (capt & wk), Jimmy Hansra, Rizwan Cheema, Nitish Kumar, Karl Whatham, Harvir Baidwan, Balaji Rao, Henry Osinde