Australia beat Scotland in the last group match of Pool A of the ICC cricket World Cup 2015. Player of the Match Mitchell Starc took 4/14 as the Aussies bowled out Scotland for 130 before chasing down the target with more than 34 overs to spare. Mitchell Starc is also now the leading wicket-taker in 2015 World Cup with 16 scalps.
Possibility of Rain Made The Contest Interesting
The match was not an insignificant one as an upset win by Scotland would have meant co-hosts Australia would slip to third in the group. Although that seemed unlikely, the possibility of a washout would have meant that Sri Lanka would have finished at a higher position in the group due to more wins than Australia.
Mitchell Starc And Company Too Good For Scotland
Aussie skipper Michael Clarke chose to field after he won the toss. Pat Cummins, who came in for Xavier Doherty, was greeted with two crushing boundaries by Scottish opener Callum MacLeod.
However, it wasn’t long before Mitchell Starc provided the breakthrough as Kyle Coetzer went without troubling the scorers. MacLeod batted confidently but Starc once again came up with the goods in the 8th over to have him caught at point for 22. Scotland lost 4 wickets for 15 runs in that period as their middle order was blown away, with Watson, Johnson and Maxwell chipping in with a wicket each.
Matt Machan, who top scored with 40, was resilient at the other end. He combined with wicket-keeper Matthew Cross to try and post a respectable total. Comeback man Pat Cummins spoiled their plans with twin strikes in the 17th over, leaving Scotland reeling at 79/7.
Late Innings Revival; First Rain Delay
Josh Davey and Michael Leask then joined hands to put up a handy 35-run stand for the 9th wicket. That was when rain first showed up, at the end of the 25th over, with the scoreboard reading 130/8. Though play was interrupted for about 30 minutes, Mitchell Starc barely took 3 minutes to wrap up the Scot innings as he took the last two wickets within four balls without conceding a run. Wardlaw scored the 5th duck of the innings and Starc finished with figures of 4/14. The Aussies were left to chase a paltry target of 131. This was Mitchell Starc’s 11th 4-wicket haul in his short 37-match ODI career.
Clarke Opens; Watson Back At 3
Australia tinkered with the batting line up with skipper Clarke opening alongside Finch. The latter made Aussie intentions clear as he drove a couple of early boundaries on-the-up. Finch however fell by the sword, as he was caught at cover off Rob Taylor.
Shane Watson appeared at his usual No.3 position after batting at 6 in the last game against Sri Lanka. He looked iffy in his short stay, giving himself room for almost every ball and middling only a few. Watson eventually fell to an uncharacteristic scoop, for a 23-ball 24. Three balls later, Scotland upped their fielding and Clarke was dismissed by a blinder at deep mid-wicket for a well compiled run-a-ball 47. With 39 more to win, rain arrived again, this time only heavier.
Second Rain Delay; Dozen Balls To Score 39
The dinner break was taken in between and eventually when play resumed, Warner came in at 5 to join Faulkner who had been promoted up the order. Just like the first rain interruption, Australia came out with all guns blazing this time as well. The Aussie pair of Faulkner and Warner took just 12 deliveries to hunt down the remaining runs with four 4s and three 6s between them.
Australia Finish Second, Scotland Last
With this win, Australia secured their second position in Pool A with 9 points, courtesy 4 wins and a washout from 6 matches. Their opponents in the Quarters are still unknown as it’s a three-way battle between Pakistan, Ireland and West Indies for the last two spots in Pool B. Scotland, on the other hand, ended a disappointing outing in the World Cup with no wins and were placed at the bottom of Pool A.
Scotland: 130/10 in 25.4 overs (Machan 40, Starc 4/14)
Australia: 133/3 in 15.2 overs (Clarke 47, Taylor 1/29)
Man of the Match: Mitchell Starc