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Australia finish Ireland in 13 overs
Prem Panicker | April 13, 2007 22:39 IST
Some top teams have approached World Cup matches with a whole laundry list of goals and objectives: getting batting practice, looking to beef up run rates, and so on.
Australia goes a different, more direct route: its approach to every game has been, what is the simplest route to a win? It identifies that route, it takes it, and any collateral benefits it might get along the way are purely incidental to the main aim - winning, as big as you can.
Events at the Kensington Oval, Barbados, today were no different. Ricky Ponting won the toss and, given the trend during this Cup has been for pitches to have life early on, then get lower and slower as the day wears on, inserted Ireland.
Shaun Tait came steaming in from the Malcolm Marshall end, Glenn McGrath from the Joel Garner end - and even those two fearsome fast bowlers could not have bettered a display that saw four batsman back in the hut, for 12 runs, inside the first five overs.
If McGrath struck as early as his first over, Tait bettered him with two wickets in two balls in his second over, being denied the hat trick by the coat of varnish on Kevin O'Brien's bat.
`Ruthless' is a word associated with this side as often as `champion' is - and on the day, the Aussies were totally without ruth. Kevin O'Brien managed a couple of flicked fours through square leg off Tait as the pace bowler tried to bowl faster and faster and lost his line as a result, but for his temerity, he received a bouncer that crashed into his elbow with a sound that could be heard without stump mikes and such.
The Aussies took 30 overs, and five bowlers, to take Ireland out for 91; the demolition could have happened earlier, but for Ponting's decision to give his two opening bowlers a modicum of rest.
Australia's only concession to the nature of the opposition was to tinker with its batting lineup, and let Michael Hussey, who has been looking for a decent hit in the middle, have a go at the top of the order in place of Mathew Hayden, and for Andrew Symonds to step up to Ricky Ponting's number three slot when Gilchrist, trying to slip into over drive, drove down the wrong length at Trent Johnston and was bowled for a 25 ball 38.
While Hussey treated himself to a quiet net, first Gilchrist, then Symonds, bullied the ball about to race towards the target. When the score came to 86, the crowd began yelling for a six. Boyd Rankin, Ireland's best bowler, came back on, and Hussey swiveled into a pull over the boundary for the required six - it was all as simple as that.
Australia sealed the win in the 13th over; with 9 wickets standing. Here is the really scary part - when the game was done and dusted, it was not even close to the halfway mark.
Did someone say `ruthless'?
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