Monday, 5 October 2009

Australia wins Champions Trophy




Australian batsmen Shane Watson, right, and James Hopes celebrate their victory [AFP]Shane Watson scored an unbeaten 105 to guide Australia to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand and back-to-back Champions Trophy titles.
Chasing New Zealand's 200 for nine, Australia struggled early with the loss of Tim Paine and Ricky Ponting with just six runs on the board.
But opener Watson and Cameron White (62) put on 128 for the third wicket to set up Monday's win. Australia reached 206-4 in the 46th over.
"We needed discipline at the start,'' said Watson, who posted an unbeaten 136 in Australia's semifinal win over England, "It was hard to score and even to survive in the beginning.''
Once Watson settled in, New Zealand's hopes slowly evaporated.
"I knew if I could be around in the 40th over, we'd have a chance of winning,'' Watson said.
The Australians beat the English by nine wickets in the semis and were hot favourites to become the first team to retain the Champions Trophy title.
Consolation
The victory comes after a difficult 12 months for Australia, which has lost test series to India, South Africa and in England and slumped from No. 1 to No. 4 in the test rankings with a young, inexperienced squad.
By winning the Champions Trophy, the second most important ODI tournament in the International Cricket Council's program, Australia ensured it will retain its status at the top limited-overs lineup.
"We've been bringing younger, fresher faces into the side,'' Ponting said , "and two of them saw us home tonight, and they handled the situation very well.''
New Zealand struggled to 200-9 in its 50 overs, having won the toss and elected to bat.
The Black Caps lost stand-in captain Brendon McCullum early for a duck in the fourth over after making a slow start.
McCullum was deputising for Daniel Vettori, who injured a hamstring in the morning while the teams were preparing for the match.
The batsmen struggled to come to grips with some tight bowling, and nobody was able to score at any kind of threatening pace.
Martin Guptill was top scorer for New Zealand with 40 off 64 balls, while the middle-order pair of Neil Broom and James Franklin shared a partnership of 65 for the sixth wicket in just over 14 overs.
Spinner Nathan Hauritz kept things quiet for Australia in the middle overs of the innings, and finished with 3-37 off his 10 overs. Paceman Brett Lee returned 2-45.
New Zealand's early raid
For New Zealand, Shane Bond and Kyle Mills struck early: Bond had Paine caught at slip for one, and then Mills trapped Ponting lbw for one to have the Australians reeling at 6 for 2.
But Watson and White were prepared to score slowly until the threat of Bond and Mills had been weathered, and then pick up the required runs of the rest of the New Zealand attack.
"Kyle Mills and Shane Bond were brilliant today,'' McCullum said. "It was a fantastic effort from them, but in the end we didn't have enough runs on the board.''
McCullum brought them back into the attack as Australia approached victory, and Mills picked up the wicket of White and had Michael Hussey (11) to finish with 3-27.
"We came together as a group throughout the tournament,'' said McCullum, "and we had huge expectations going into the final. But Australia were brilliant today and they are deserved winners of the trophy.''

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