Australia defeat New Zealand by seven wickets - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

Australia defeat New Zealand by seven wickets

Half-centuries from Shane Watson and Brad Haddin powered Australia to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in their World Cup Group A encounter in Nagpur today.

Openers Watson (61) and Haddin (55) put on 131 from just 109 balls to back up a fine effort with the ball by pace duo Mitchell Johnson (four for 33) and Shaun Tait (three for 35), who ensured the Kiwis folded for 206 inside 46 overs.



Only Nathan McCullum (52) and Daniel Vettori (44) looked likely to swell the total after their side were reduced to 73 for six, but the moderate target was overhauled by their trans-Tasman rivals with more than 16 overs to spare.



Both teams observed a minute's silence before the start of play in memory of the victims of the Christchurch earthquake.



Batting first after losing the toss, Brendon McCullum (16) and Martin Guptill (10) failed to provide a positive start, falling to Tait and Watson respectively.



A double strike from Johnson soon reduced the Kiwis to 66 for four as Jesse Ryder (25 off 31), and new batsman James Franklin were caught behind poking at outswinging deliveries.



Then Tait struck twice in two overs to see off Scott Styris and Ross Taylor as the Black Caps slipped to 73 for six by the 17th over.



Jamie How (22) and Nathan McCullum took the team past 100 in 25 overs, but Steven Smith ended the stand at 48 by trapping How lbw.



Nathan McCullum continued the fightback and found a suitable partner in Vettori with the pair adding 54 more before the right-hander fell to Johnson, two runs after reaching his half-century off 72 balls.



At 175 for eight with nine overs remaining, New Zealand looked for a late blitz and Vettori gave the Kiwis hope by taking the team past 200.



But Brett Lee dismissed Vettori for a 43-ball 44 and Tim Southee fell in Johnson's next over with 29 balls remaining.



In reply, Australia raced to 125 for no loss in 16 overs as both Haddin and Watson punished wayward Kiwi bowlers by hitting a flurry of boundaries to bring up their half-centuries.



Hamish Bennett then gave Aussies a scare by removing Haddin (55 off 50 balls) and Watson (62 off 61) in the same over, but captain Ponting and his deputy Michael Clarke added 31 in the next eight overs.



Ponting (12) was stumped brilliantly by Brendon McCullum, standing up to pace bowler Southee.



Clarke (24 not out) and Cameron White (22no) rattled off the remaining 40 runs in 44 balls to complete Australia's domination of the match.



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