A well-composed century by Aaron Finch and an equally brilliant five-wicket haul by Mitchell Marsh helped Australia outplay England by 111 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. With this victory, the hosts opened their account in dominating fashion in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
England opt to bowl, Aaron Finch and Warner make strong start
Eoin Morgan won the toss and invited Australia to bat.The openers Aaron Finch and David Warner batted with flair and brought up their 50-run partnership in the 7th over. The English bowling pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad found some assistance from the hard Melbourne wicket but were not able to contain Aaron Finch and David Warner.
Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes destroy Australian top-order
Just when David Warner had started to look dangerous, Stuart Broad came up with a top-class yorker length delivery to dismiss the left hander when he was on 22 off 18 balls. In the very next ball, he produced an outside edge off Shane Watson’s bat which was safely caught by Jos Butler. In-form Steven Smith also could not contribute much with the bat as he was clean bowled by Chris Woakes for 5. In the space of 3 overs, the hosts were reduced to 70-3 from 57-0.
Bailey combines with Finch to begin rescue operation
Skipper George Bailey came in to bat when his team’s score was a precarious 70-3. He took the responsibility of recovering the Australian innings along with his well-set batting partner Aaron Finch. They added 146 runs for the 4th wicket and during this partnership, Finch got to his hundred while Bailey scored his fifty. The stand was broken after Aaron Finch was run-out by Eoin Morgan after a brilliant 135 off 128 balls.
Maxwell, Haddin propel Australia to 342; Finn gets a hat-trick
Soon after Finch’s dismissal, Bailey followed him, dragging back Steven Finn’s slower delivery onto his stumps. Glenn Maxwell (66 off 40), Mitchell Marsh(23 off 20) and Brad Haddin (31 off 14) chipped in with important cameos to see Australia pass 340. Steven Finn finished the innings with a hat-trick which consisted of the wickets of Maxwell, Haddin and Mitchell Johnson. This is the 8th hat-trick in world cup history.
England top-order cleaned up by Mitchell Marsh
As Moeen Ali and Ian Bell walked in to begin the monumental chase for England, the Australian bowling attack looked all charged up and ready for the task. Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc bowled with great pace and did not allow the English batsmen to settle down. The first wicket fell when Ali miscued a slower ball from Starc to George Bailey at mid on.
Mitchell Marsh was introduced early in the innings and he proved effective right away as he removed Ian Bell Gary Ballance, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan in no time.
James Taylor fights lone battle, bowlers continue mayhem
Jos Butler came in at no. 7 but With England stuttering at 73-5. The wicketkeeper-batsman’s stay on the crease was short, as Steven Smith took a stunning catch at cover, off Marsh’s bowling. This was his 5th wicket. Taylor waged a lone battle against the Aussies and found some support at the other end from Chris Woakes, who scored 37 runs and was involved in a 92-run stand with Taylor.
England were never in the game after the top order collapsed. Woakes too departed after he failed to read Mitchell Johnson’s slower delivery and hit it high in the air. Steve Smith calmly got underneath it and took a safe catch to dash England’s last hope. The wickets of the tailenders fell like ninepins and England were all-out for 231 in 41.5 overs. James Taylor remained unbeaten on 98 off 92 balls.
Turning point of the match
Usually, turning points happen halfway during the match. But in today’s game, the turning point came as early as the third ball of the Australian innings. Aaron Finch was dropped at mid-wicket by Chris Woakes, in the very first over before even opening his account, off the bowling of Anderson. Finch then went on to score a brilliant 135 which also earned him the man of the match award.
Besides, as pointed out by Shoaib Akhtar from the commentary box, England suffered during the slog overs because of excessive reliance on slower and shorter balls, instead of yorkers. The Englishmen will have to make amends for all these mistakes if they are to entertain a realistic chance of going the distance this time.