| Glenn McGrath celebrates dismissing Jacob Oram, his fifth victim, during Australia’s match against New Zealand in Colombo on Sunday. (Reuters)
Colombo: Defending champions New Zealand crashed to a 164-run defeat to Australia in a group A league match of the Champions Trophy. This defeat virtually throws the Black Caps out of contention for higher laurels in the tournament.
New Zealand were bowled out for a paltry 132 in 26.2 overs after Australia, electing to bat first, had piled up 296 for seven in their 50 overs.
Glen McGrath was the wrecker-in-chief claiming five wickets for 37 runs for Australia from his seven overs as the Black Caps capitulated. Brett Lee finished with three for 38.
McGrath became the 10th bowler and the second Australian after Shane Warne to reach 250 wickets in one-day cricket when, in his 161st match, he induced Oram to leave a ball that cannoned into his off-stump.
McGrath also had the satisfaction of his fifth five-wicket haul in ODIs and his best figures against New Zealand. Ironically, the highest scorer for New Zealand was number eleven Shane Bond who hit five fours in his 22-ball 26.
Bond put on 50 runs in an entertaining last wicket stand with Kyle Mills after New Zealand had collapsed to 82 for nine by the 19th over. Mills was unbeaten on 23 off 39 balls with one four and a six.
Earlier, Damien Martyn had led a combined assault on the New Zealand bowlers as Australia equalled the highest score at the SSC. Martyn scored an 87-ball 73 with eight fours after Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden had given the team a flying start.
It was the New Zealanders’ second biggest defeat, next only to the 174-run thrashing they received from India at Hyderabad in 1999.
Gilchrist and Hayden put on a whirlwind 68 in just 9.2 overs before Daryl Tuffey provided the breakthrough for New Zealand. Gilchrist, who scored 44 runs off just 30 deliveries with seven fours and a six was caught by Matthew Sinclair.
However, the Australians continued to score at well above six runs an over with skipper Ricky Ponting and Hayden combining well and finding the runs with ease. The two put on 61 runs for the second wicket before Ponting fell on the last ball of the 19th over, caught by Stephen Fleming at short cover off Shane Bond for 37 off only 31 balls with eight fours.
Hayden soon followed his captain to the pavilion, bowled by Daniel Vettori, clearly the pick of the Black Caps’ bowlers. Thereafter, Martyn took centrestage and dominated the New Zealand attack in the company of Darren Lehmann who made 35. The two added 74 for the fourth wicket.
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