Thursday, December 12, 2019, 06:06:48 AM
CWC Flavor Not Died Yet-Part III

Australia Looked Pretty Ordinary in the Knockout

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2019-07-19 9:46:16 PM
Australia Looked Pretty Ordinary in the Knockout
Collected photo

The HEXA mission of Australia at CWC 2019 was crushed in the semi final against traditional and oldest foe England get badly bruised, battered and humiliated. Australia is known in sporting world as a team with never say die looked pretty ordinary. 

No one possibly recollect when in cricket world and Australian team getting into so deep in a global tournament has embraced a huge defeat without any fight. In CWC 2019 Australia came with a vision for winning a record sixth time. With five titles in their bag Australia is by far the most successful team in world cricket. Of the twelve episode of the event so far Australia won five times (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015 )  and were losing finalist twice (1975 and 1996) .

Australia at Cricket World Cup 

Year               Played At                                Position                                      Captain
1975               England                           Runners up                                       Ian Chappel
1979               England                Group Stage Eliminated                              Kim Hughes
1983               England                Group Stage Eliminated                              Kim Hughes
1987         India & Pakistan                    Champion                                          Alan Border
1992    Australia & New Zealand     Round Robin Stage Eliminated              Alan Border
1996     Pakistan,India and Sri Lanka       Runners up                                      Mark Taylor 
1999    England, Ireland, Wales& Scotland   Champions                               Steve Waugh 
2003         South Africa                                  Champions                              Ricky Ponting
2007         West Indies                                   Champions                              Ricky Ponting
2011      Bangladesh,India and Sri Lanka   Knocked out at Quarter Final      Ricky Ponting
2015     Australia & New Zealand                  Champions                                Michael Clark 
2019     England and Wales                         Knocked Out at Semi Final     Aaron Finch

Despite going through tremor in 2018 for suspension of three players including captain Steve Smith and vice captain David Warner for ball tampering against South Africa, Australia had a reasonable strong team in CWC 2019. In 2019 Aaron Flinch led Australia won ODI series against formidable India in India and against Pakistan in their adopted home UAE without the services of Smith and Warner. Smith and Warner returned on time. Australia was among the top favorites alongside host England and formidable India. In group stage off the 9 matches they lost only to India and South Africa. Australia was placed in the second position behind India in the points table with 14 points.

One Sided Semi Final at Edgbaston: England and Australia

England 226/2 in 32.1 overs (JJ Roy 85, JE Root 49*, EJG Morgan 45*, JM Bairstow 34) beat Australia 223 All Out in 49 Overs (SPD Smith 85, AT Carey 46, MA Starc 29, GJ Maxwell 22, CR Woakes 3/20, AU Rashid 3/54, jC Archer 2/32) by 8 wickets

Player of the Match: Chris Woakes

Any match of cricket between two oldest teams and traditional rivals Australia and England always create huge excitements. The semi final was second encounter between them. In the match at group stage Australia winning easily pushed almost at the edge of elimination.  It was expected that Australia would repeat that performance in the semi final as well. But contrary to expectation an all guns blazing England bruised, battered and humiliated reigning champions Australia in an one sided semi final played at Birmingham.  England chasing a moderate Australia set target of 223 overhauled easily scoring 226/2 . Such a massive loss at the hands of England may also impact Australia’s ashes mission starting soon.

England is now world champions. They went on beating New Zealand in a breath taking final at Lords when the match was tied after 50+50= 100 Overs . Even remained tied after super over requiring a controversial rule of more boundary scored to declare England as winner. We are not dealing with 5 or 6 runs debate here.

If we look back in retrospect we find Australia through out the CWC 2019 heavily relied on their openers David Warner and Aaron Flinch for scoring. Both were in prolific form. Australian mission got set back when inform Usman Khawaja got injured and was ruled out of the world cup. Other quality middle order batsman Shaun Marsh was injured earlier. Of the other batsmen Wicket keeper Alex Carey looked promising. 

Australia was also handicapped as star batsman Steve Smith was not at his usual form. Neither Maxwell not other batsmen made regular contributions. In our opinion this Australian team had the weakest batting strength in world cup in recent memory. Their bowling was also heavily depended on Mitchell Starc. Australia missed the Glen Maxwell mode accuracy of Hazzlewood. In the present English summer Hazzlewood could be better suited. Cummins was Ok. But he could not give match winning support to Starc regularly. Behrendorff and Coulter Nile were also not matured enough to drive the team to the final. Unfortunately Nathan Lyon was not utilized well. Even then Australia reached semi final for the weight of a cricket super power.

Australia won the toss. But batting first they ran immediately into deep water as very probing English pace attack spearheaded by Woakes and Archer reduced Australia to 3/14. Two main stays of Australian batting Flinch and Warner were blown away in no time. 

Peter Handscomb drafted late in place of injured Khawaja had no clue. Steve Smith carried on the fight to the best of his ability with young wicket keeper batsman for a while. But his innings also did not have his known flamboyance. Australia managed a score of 223 all out in 49 overs. Five prong English pace attack of Woakes, Wood, Archer, Plunkett and Stokes took the wind out of Aussie sail. Surprisingly on a wicket which appeared to have lot of purchase for Englaish pacers eased out when England batted. Inform English openers Roy and Bairstow blasted Starc, Cummins and Behrendorff breaking Aussie moral of traditional fight back. Root and Morgan literarily toyed with Aussie bowling cruising to 226/2.

In our opinion Australia did not deserve to go beyond whatever they achieved in this world cup. England, they neither had the quality batting depth nor the penetrative and wicket taking bowling resources for going all the way. India and even New Zealand was far better and more resourceful team. But the saddest part is that Australia went down to England without any fight.

BDST: 2150 HRS, JUL 19, 2019

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