What is the first thing that comes to our minds when we say Australian cricket? The answer is World Cup. Australia hold a record for winning the most number of World Cups (5) in the history of tha game. But big tournaments are won with team efforts. An instance of this came on Wednesday when Nathan Coulter-Nile stamped authority with a brisk 92 off just 60 balls that included four maximums and 8 fours against West Indies in Nottingham.
After being put into bat by West Indies skipper Jason Holder, Australia were in a spot of bother after being reduced to 79/5. Steve Smith was running out of partners at the other end but wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey gave him some support as the two stitched a 68-run stand for the sixth wicket before Carey departed for 45. Coulter-Nile came in at number 8 and turned the fortunes for his side. He along with Smith put on 102 runs for the 7th wicket but the former Australia captain was undone for 73 by Oshane Thomas courtesy, a fine catch in the deep by Sheldon Cottrell. But Smith’s departure didn’t really put a halt on Coulter-Nile’s scoring rate as Australia eventually scored 288/10 in 49 overs. Later the bowlers did their job and restricted West Indies to 273/9 in 50 overs to win the match by 15 runs.
Nathan Coulter-Nile’s knock reminded everyone of Andy Bichel who played similar kind of innings back in 2003 edition against New Zealand at Port Elizabeth. Though Bichel’s batting wasn’t as aggressive as that of Coulter-Nile’s but he played a very crucial role in setting up a decent target for the Kiwis. Stephen Fleming won the toss and asked Austalia to bat first.
New Zealand seamer Shane Bond ripped apart Australia’s top order as he sent Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Rickey Ponting and Damien Martyn back in the hut. Ricky Ponting’s side was eventually left tottering at 84/7 when Michael Bevan and Bichel took the charge of the situation. The two compiled a partnership of 97 runs for the 8th wicket before Bevan was dismissed by Jacob Oram for 56. Bichel notched up 64 off 83 as Australia scored 208/9 and completed their quota of 50 overs. In reply, New Zealand had a dismal start as they were reduced to 33/3 in the 7th over and were later bowled out for 112. Brett Lee scalped a five-for while Glenn McGrath bagged three wickets. Ian Harvey and Bichel too got a wicket apiece.
The Ricky Ponting-led Australia eventually lifted the trophy after beating India in the final.
While Australia have won the World Cup five times, West Indies have been crowned the champions in the first two editions of the tournament. Australia will next play India on Sunday in London while West Indies will lock horns with South Africa in Southampton. Both the encounters would be interesting as India and Australia are both coming into this match with respective wins in their last games. On the other side, both the West Indies and South Africa lost their last respective matches.