Australia continued their winning run in World Cup 2019 by easily getting the better of New Zealand on Saturday by an impressive margin of 86 runs. It was the Aussies' seventh victory in the tournament while New Zealand slumped to their second loss in a row.
The Aussies, batting first, found themselves in big trouble at 92 for 5. However, brilliant knocks from Usman Khawaja (88) and Alex Carey (71) lifted them to a challenging total of 243 despite Trent Boult's hat-trick. The New Zealand batting then faltered under pressure of some class bowling to fold up for 157.
Australia captain Aaron Finch heaped praise on Khawaja and Carey, saying they batted really well on a challenging surface. "From 5 for 92, a great partnership from Alex Carey and Usman Khawaja on a wicket we knew would turn. I think it was important that we got some time in the middle, but not in the way we did. It was a difficult wicket to start on, and the way Alex came in and hit the ball was excellent. It was not easy to time the ball," the captain said.
In the bowling department, Mitchell Starc once again led from the front for the Aussies with brilliant figures of 5 for 26.
Speaking about his bowlers, Finch said, "It was also a good surface for Lyon to bowl, I thought, and he bowled really well. Important to bowl the part-timers too. It gives you a lot of wicket-taking options in the 20-40 over a period. It helps the team so much to get wickets in the middle-overs, like Starc, who can just return and take wickets immediately."
Revealing about the plan to dismiss Colin de Grandhomme, Finch said, "JL, Smudge (Steven Smith), Punter, myself, and Haddin, we all were involved in the decision of making Steven Smith bowl. We're all part of the think-tank."
Wicket-keeper Carey was adjudged man of the match for his excellent knock under pressure. The Aussies will now take on South Africa in their last league game at Old Trafford on July 6. New Zealand with 11 points will face England on July 3. The semi-final berth of the Kiwis remains uncertain after two losses.
--By A Cricket Correspondent