Brad Hogg was again superb with his spin and so were Tait and McGrath in their second spells. After the frenetic start that England got during which they scored 164 for 2 in 29.3 overs and were well on their way to a score of 300 plus, Aussie bowlers applied breaks to their flow of runs aided by excellent ground work and England in the end could finish with a total of just 248. The last 20 overs of England's innings yielded just 84 runs and they last all of their remaining 8 wickets. Pietersen’s priority of scoring a hundred reduced the risk taking opportunities and also wickets falling at regular intervals at the other end made the situation worse them. Apart from Pietersen (104), Ian Bell (77) and Ravi Bopara (21) none of the English batsmen could even reach double figures and their final score was at least 40-50 runs short of the kind of target that could have presented any problems to the mighty Australian batting line-up.
Australia got a good start and 57 runs of the target were knocked off before Gilchrist’s dilemma of whether to go for a shot or not at a Flintoff’s out side the off-stump delivery provided the first break for England as he gifted a simple catch to Collingwood at gully. Hayden continued his power hitting and added further 32 runs with his captain before he was clean bowled by Collingwood’s first ball of the innings.
Ricky Ponting then took the onus of seeing Australia through with another masterly innings of 86 and he still doesn't seem to be forgiving England for the 2005 Ashes defeat they inflicted on his team. Ponting and Clarke added 112 runs for the 3rd wicket before an unfortunate run-out ended the partnership and denied the Aussie skipper of what would have been his 24th ODI hundred and a record 5th century in World Cup.
Andrew Symonds came into bat with 47 runs still needed for a win and went about knocking them off right from the word go. Clarke remained not out again with another half century to his credit and Australia with their 7 wicket victory now strengthens their number one ODI spot which they reclaimed back after Bangladesh produced the biggest upset of the tournament.
Apart from all the highlights of the match, Pietersen’s amazing non-catch to pick up a Andrew Symonds’ huge lofted drive on the boundary line which would have made even a circus gymnast proud as he tiptoed and tip-toed for four steps keeping the momentum of his run and finally when he was about to step out of boundary line he threw the ball inside. It really was a great effort and should go down in history as one of the greatest catches but unfortunately according to the law 32.3 which says: "The act of making a catch shall start from the time when a fielder first handles the ball and shall end when a fielder obtains complete control both over the ball and over his own movement", it was ruled out as a no catch and two runs were credited to Symonds. Catch or no Catch it overshadowed Pietersen’s effort with the bat and that’s really a great achievement for a guy who spilled his first six catches in test cricket not very long ago.
Today’s ‘Quiztion of the Day’ relates to amazing catches and dropped catches in World Cup Cricket history. Here it is:
Catches win Matches but Dropped Catches lose matches. Nothing illustrates this more than the following two instances. Captain of one team took an amazing catch running backwards which turned around a match and clinched a victory from the jaws of defeat. Fielder of a team dropped a catch of the skipper of the opposing team changing the course of the tournament and letting his team lose the match from a winning position. In both case the captains went on to lift the World Cup. Provide the details of the catches I am referring to.