Monday, February 21, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011: Shane Watson and Michael Clarke rescue Australia innings against Zimbabwe

12feb 2011

Despite winning the toss at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Australia looked subdued against spinners Prosper Utseya (one for 43), Graeme Cremer (one for 41) and Ray Price (one for 43), with tight fielding adding to the pressure on the reigning champions.

Opener Watson was part of two 50-plus partnerships, with Brad Haddin, who scored a pedestrian 29 from 66 balls, and skipper Ricky Ponting, who reached 28 from 36 deliveries.

But only a 55-ball 58 from Clarke and some big hitting from the Australia tail ensured Ponting\'s team would have a fighting total to defend.

Zimbabwe\'s introduction of spin early on restricted Australia to just 28 after 10 overs. It almost paid quick dividends when Haddin\'s mistimed pull off Utseya saw the ball hit the base of the stumps without dislodging the bails.

Haddin and Watson eased Australia\'s nerves in the next over with two boundaries apiece off Chris Mpofu, but the burst was short-lived with Haddin - trapped lbw - the first World Cup batsman to be given out from a reviewed decision.

Watson reached his half-century from 69 balls and smashed a six to bring up the fifty partnership between himself and Ponting, but Zimbabwe struck twice in successive overs to heap further pressure.

First Watson was adjudged lbw off Cremer after a successful review, before Ponting was run out by a superb direct hit from Mpofu.

Australia notched up 90 runs in the last 10 overs, with Cameron White (22), David Hussey (14) and Steven Smith (11) providing valuable support to Clarke

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