| BICHEL: ‘Sunday probably my best day ever’
Port Elizabeth: Australia’s Andy Bichel produced one of the most outstanding allround performances in World Cup history, then rued having missed a record.
Bichel took seven for 20 against England here on Sunday, the second best ever bowling figures in a World Cup and shared a 73-run stand for the ninth wicket with Michael Bevan to lead his side to a tense two-wicket win.
A delighted Bichel later confessed he wanted to surpass teammate Glenn McGrath’s tournament record of seven for 15 made against Namibia in Potchefstroom just five days earlier.
“I had enough chances to get eight. There was a little bit of banter with Glenn but he was right behind me,” the smiling Queenslander said. “This was probably my best day ever.
“I missed the last World Cup, so I was looking forward to this one and worked hard to get here,” said Bichel.
“You dream of a day when you can get seven wickets in a one-day game. There was nip in the pitch for me and the wickets were my reward,” added the 32-year-old, who was only playing because of an injury to first choice Jason Gillespie.
The win was Australia’s 14th in a row over England and their 12th successive one-day triumph, a new record beating the old mark of 11 set by the West Indies in 1985.
Bichel’s performance was arguably the greatest all-round display by an Australian at the World Cup since Gary Gilmour’s one-man show in the 1975 semi-final win against England at Headingley.
Gilmour, a left-arm swing bowler, took six for 14 and scored 28 not out on a pitch where the bowlers had things even more their own way than the St George’s Park surface here.
A few days before Sunday’s match, English newspaper reporters faced the Australians in the nets and Bichel joked: “Obviously I’d like to thank those guys who were wearing the England shirts. It obviously got me fired up.”
Bichel, who finished unbeaten on 34, smashed James Anderson for a huge six in the penultimate over as well as a boundary which eased the pressure of the run chase.
“Bevo’s always talking about the scoring zone and that six was the right ball for me to hit.”
Bichel was only playing in his 41st match since making his one-day debut in the 1996-97 season having been regarded by the selectors as the back-up to their favoured pace trio of McGrath, Gillespie and Brett Lee.
“Playing in a side like this, it’s a fantastic side. I’ve been around it for a while now. But my main goal is to make sure I’m ready for that opportunity. I’ve managed to do it a couple of times now and hopefully I can get in there and play the next one.”