London, June 30 (IANS) It was another inspired World Cup 2019 campaign by Australia as the defending champions maintained their dominance in the points-table and registered their seventh win in the tournament.
After being reduced to 92/5, it was Usman Khawaja’s 88 and stumper Alex Carey’s valiant 71 which propelled the Aussies to a fighting total of 243 against New Zealand at Lord’s on Saturday before their bowlers also stepped up to wrap up their opponents on 157, setting up a comfortable 86 run win.
Aussie skipper Aaron Finch was all praise for his batsmen — Khwaja and Carey — and said that despite the wicket being difficult for batting, the duo’s sensible effort took his side to a respectable total.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Finch said: “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,” he added.
Defending the target, the Aussie bowlers were also fantastic with their line and length to bundle out the Kiwis. Once again, Mitchell Starc starred with the ball with figures of 5/26.
Commenting on his bowlers, Finch said: “It was also a good surface for (Nathan) 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 period. It helps the team so much to get wickets in the middle-overs, like Starc, who can just return and take wickets immediately.”
“JL (Justin Langer), Smudge (Steven Smith), Punter (Ponting), myself, and (Brad) Haddin, we all were involved in the decision (about the plan to dismiss Colin de Grandhomme) of making Steven Smith bowl. We’re all part of the think-tank,” he added.
Meanwhile, Carey, who was adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’, also felt the wicket was challenging to bat on and was a bit slower.
“It wasn’t the start we wanted. Uzi (Khawaja) was out there and for me it was to assess the conditions. There was a lot of time to bat. It did play a little on the slower side, and they were bowling really well. I stuck to my strengths, to drive when it wasn’t short. Credit to Usman Khawaja as well, and Starc with the bowler. I really enjoy my batting,” the stumper expressed.
Australia, who have 14 points in their kitty, will now face South Africa in their last league affair at the Old Trafford, Manchester on July 6 while the Black Caps, who have 11 points from eight games and whose semi’s berth is still uncertain, will take on host England on July 3.