Matthew Hayden’s third century of the tournament helped champions Australia extend their unbeaten run at the World Cup to 27 matches with a 215-run Super Eights thrashing of fellow semifinalists New Zealand at Grenada’s National Stadium on Friday.
Hayden’s 103 off 100 balls was the centrepiece of Australia’s 348-6.
New Zealand, in what was both sides’ final second-round match, were bowled out for 133 as their run of three straight one-day wins against Australia, achieved during February’s Chappell-Hadlee clean sweep, came to an end after they’d batted for just over half their innings.
It was the biggest margin of victory in a World Cup match between two Test nations, surpassing England’s 202-run win against India at Lord’s in 1975 during the inaugural edition when matches were 60 overs per side contests.
This result confirmed that New Zealand will face Sri Lanka in Tuesday’s first semifinal in Jamaica with Australia up against South Africa in St Lucia on Wednesday.
All-rounder Shane Watson marked his return from three games out with a calf injury by scoring a blistering 65 not out in front of a ground record 12 249 crowd full of Australian fans.
Fast bowler Shaun Tait (3-32) took wickets throughout the innings, left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg following up with 4-29.
Opener Peter Fulton made 62, the only New Zealand score of note, before he was last man out, bowled by Hogg.
Hayden’s innings, with two sixes and 10 fours, saw the tournament’s leading run scorer equal the record for most hundreds at a single World Cup held by Australia’s Mark Waugh (1996) and India’s Sourav Ganguly (2003).
But New Zealand were without ill fast bowler Shane Bond and injured pace bowling all-rounder Jacob Oram.
In reply they lost their first two wickets inside six overs.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming’s hook attempt off fast bowler Shaun Tait was held by opposing skipper Ricky Ponting at second slip, although the batsman clearly believed he hadn’t hit the ball. There was no doubt, though, when Ross Taylor pulled Glenn McGrath’s first ball straight to Michael Hussey at mid-wicket.
New Zealand then lost two wickets in nine balls, Scott Styris — averaging over 100 in the tournament before this match — and Craig McMillan the men out.
Styris, on 27, saw his attempt to hit McGrath through mid-wicket end with a simple catch to Hayden at mid-on.
McMillan was then lbw to Tait for one, New Zealand on the way to their heaviest one-day defeat, beating January’s 189 run loss against Sri Lanka in Auckland.
Earlier New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel took 2-48
Watson countered with a 32-ball knock featuring four sixes and four fours. He ended the innings by slashing left-arm quick James Franklin over cover for six.
Franklin took three wickets but his eight overs cost an expensive 74 runs. Mark Gillespie, Bond’s replacement, saw his six wicketless overs go for 67.
Together with Ponting (66), Hayden put on 137 for the second wicket after the early loss of Adam Gilchrist.
Franklin took a wicket first ball when Gilchrist, on one, cut a wide delivery straight to Gillespie at third man.
Hayden and Ponting both completed 53 ball-fifties before their 22-over stand ended when the captain chipped a drive off Patel to Ross Taylor at short mid-wicket.
Hayden, against Daniel Vettori in his 200th one-day international, drove the left-arm spinner for three successive fours.
And he went to 96 with a huge straight six off Styris.
But going for another big hit off the medium-pacer he miscued a drive high in the air and Styris, running back, held a superb caught-and-bowled chance as the ball dropped over his shoulder. — AFP