With the ruthlessness that everyone has come to expect from the Australians they overwhelmed Ireland by nine wickets at Bridgetown after demolishing them for 91. The pace and bounce of Glenn McGrath and Shaun Tait proved too much for the Irish top order, as they removed the top four inside five overs, and only three batsmen reached double figures. The result confirms the Australia as the first team into the semi-finals.
Australia could have decided to use this match to hone their allround game; have a bat, rack up 300-plus then bowl when the track is slower. But they are a team with one focus, winning as quickly and effectively as possible. Apart from 15 wides - mainly from Tait - and one tough chance dropped by Ponting it was seamless performance. Even Michael Hussey, 20 runs in four innings before today, managed useful time in the middle, although he never looked on top form. Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds added the brief fireworks as the chase was completed in 12.2 overs.
The systematic removal of Ireland’s batting began with the final ball of the opening over when McGrath removed Jeremy Bray with a full inswinger which clipped off stump. But McGrath was only the start of Ireland’s problems. The pace, never mind unorthodox action, of Tait was something they will have never encountered and it showed. After negotiating a maiden over, Tait’s second began in dramatic fashion. The first ball was too quick for William Porterfield who was trapped plumb in front then, with the next, Niall O’Brien could only drag a fast, low full toss into his stumps. Somehow Kevin O’Brien survived the hat-trick ball, and responded with a couple of solid flicks through square leg.
McGrath added his second scalp, in regulation style, as Eoin Morgan edged to first slip in a manner so many left-handers have fallen to McGrath throughout his career. Without sounding cruel to Ireland, the record pages were quickly being thumbed to confirm the lowest World Cup total. That ignominy faded as did Tait’s direction, whose third over took 11 balls and included the missed catch by Ponting at second slip off O’Brien.
Andrew White took a painful blow on the helmet from McGrath and he was still unsteady when he chipped a slower ball from same bowler towards mid off. McGrath was pulling out all his tricks as his final World Cup continues as a tour de force. He was rested after seven overs, but wickets continued to tumbled with O’Brien’s determined stay ending with a poor clip to square leg. Stuart Clark had his first wicket of the tournament and a useful run out in case he is called upon in the next few weeks.
Not surprisingly for a fellow Australian, Trent Johnston refused to go down without a fight. However, Ponting was in no mood to offer his rival captain any favours and returned to Tait, who again served up his liquorish allsorts. Even the ball to shift Johnston, wide and full, was nothing special but his pace brings the added dimension. John Mooney showed his team-mates resistance was possible until Tait’s direct hit from mid off ended the innings in emphatic style.
Without having much of a target to aim for, Hussey was straight up to open in place of Matthew Hayden. Gilchrist was quickly into his stride and the fifty came up in the seventh over. Ireland, though, did have one moment to celebrate as they never-say-die captain swung one between Gilchrist’s drive. Symonds was handed a brief outing in the middle, a thumping one ferocious straight six, before Hussey completed the formalities with his first maximum of the World Cup.
The match lasted less than the length of one innings and was over on the stroke of the lunch interval. Ireland’s fans never stopped singing, despite their team’s predicament, and they’ll continue to party into the afternoon. They just won’t have any cricket to watch.
Source:Cricket WorldcupMore on:Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Australia, Glenn McGrath, Ireland, Shaun Tait, Wickets, World Cup
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Saturday, April 14th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, World Cup.
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