Cricket World Cup: Kiwis' canter sends West Indies packing

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Scotland 121 New Zealand 123-4 NZ won by six wickets

IN THE final analysis, New Zealand made all the mathematics and Australia's machinations academic by claiming their place in the World Cup Super Six with more than three overs, six wickets and the rest of the day to spare.

Set 122 in 21.2 overs in order to push the West Indies out of the tournament, the Kiwis found in Roger Twose a batsman who was not content to get them in ones and twos and who rode his luck to see his side home.

Twose, New Zealand's outstanding batsman in their group games, gave three catchable chances and even attempted a messy form of hara-kiri by headbutting the stumps after going for a sharp single. He survived all those potential mishaps to finish unbeaten on 54, although the honour of ushering the Kiwis to their next appointment, against Zimbabwe at Headingley on Sunday, fell to Chris Cairns by virtue of a towering six off Gavin Hamilton.

It had not always looked quite as straightforward, especially when John Blain removed Matthew Hart with the second ball of the innings and then continued Nathan Astle's miserable World Cup with the bat by having him caught behind in his next over.

If James Brinkley had clung to the first chance given by Twose, off the bowling of Hamilton, a measure of panic could still have set in.

"We spoke about batting first and that if we set some sort of target it would be a game within a game and we might get some quick wickets," said Scotland's captain, George Salmond.

Every eventuality from crashing out for 33 to making 349 was catered for in the mathematical tables thoughtfully provided. Not surprisingly, Scotland fell somewhere in between, although 33 did not seem ungenerous when their top order failed again and three wickets went down for 12 with the ball swinging and seaming.

There were times, however, when the Scots looked like making a real nuisance of themselves, the first of them when Hamilton and Ian Stanger came together and put on 54.

Hamilton's 20 took him well beyond any English batsman - and all but a handful of others - in the group stages with 217 before he spooned a catch off Astle. No wonder that the hypothetical question of whether England might have made the Super Six if they had picked Hamilton is a live issue in these parts.

"I hope we do lose him," said the Scots coach, Jim Love. "Good luck to the lad. To have a Scot playing for England would do the game here no harm at all."

Stanger did even better, compiling 27 before falling to Cairns.

The second defiant episode - aided and abetted in its Braveheart atmospherics by the smoke drifting over this beautiful ground from the barbecues - came from Greig Williamson and Alec Davies.

Williamson helped Scotland to three figures before he was caught and bowled by Chris Harris, who then removed Blain lbw with his next ball.

Asim Bult hit one mighty six off Astle before perishing trying to do the same to Harris, who finished with 4 for 7 from his short spell after ending Davis's resistance on 24.

The other major success for the Kiwis was Geoff Allott, whose 3 for 15 made him the leading wicket-taker in the group stage of the tournament.

"We probably have to be a little bit more consistent with the bat," said their captain, Stephen Fleming. "Our bowling is in pretty good order."

For Scotland, there remains the technical consolation of having stayed in the tournament a little longer than England. "We've had a fantastic adventure," said Love.

THE SUPER SIX

Qualifiers for second stage

South Africa

Zimbabwe

India

Pakistan

Australia

New Zealand

Comments