When an associate nation meets a country that hasn’t lost in 33 successive World Cup games, they know for sure that it isn’t going to be easy. And that is what Canada learnt when they met Australia in a Group A encounter at Bangalore. Though it did not go all according to plan for Ponting and his men, their class prevailed and they managed to cruise to victory.
Young Hiral Patel started going after the Australian bowlers right from the start after Bagai won the toss and elected to bat. He hit Lee for three boundaries in his first over and Canada were up and running. The neutral cricket fan’s favourite Canadian, John Davison, who was playing his last international game, was promoted to open the innings and he joined Patel with three attacking boundaries. But there was no farewell gift for him as Lee foxed him with a slower bouncer and 14 was all he could manage from his last international game. The attention then shifted back to Patel as he continued hammering the Australian pacers including a six each of Lee, Tait and Johnson. Patel brought up his half century of 37 balls and Canada were 77 at the end of the Powerplay. Watson was brought into the attack and he struck right away as Patel perished trying one shot too many. The skipper Bagai walked in to join Surkari and the duo steered the innings with a 68 run partnership.
This prompted Ponting to get back Tait into the attack and he responded by picking up the wicket of Bagai. Krejza got Hansra to hole out to Lee in the deep and once Tait struck once again to remove Surkari, Australia were back in the game. Ponting brought back Lee into the attack and the much talked about Rizwan Cheema couldn’t decipher a slower ball only to find his stumps clattered. The Canadian ship had sunk from 150/2 to 161/6. Contributions from debutant Whatham and Baidwan ensured Canada got past the 200 mark and Australia were left needing 212 for a victory.
If the Canadian bowlers they had a chance with the new ball, it was negated by Watson and Haddin. The duo after cautiously seeing out the new ball began to open up. The running between the wickets was impeccable and an occasional big hit ensured that there was no way they were going to lose this game. The big hits began to come more often after the hundred partnership as both the openers set themselves up for a ton. Davison finally struck in the 29th over as Haddin was caught down the legside by Bagai for 88. Watson followed his partner soon after as he aimed for glory but only managed to hole out to the deep for 94. Australia were only 27 runs away from victory and the Aussie skipper would have wanted to stay till the end. But much to his frustration, he mistimed a pull of a short one from Osinde giving the square leg fielder a simple catch. Clarke and White then finished the formalities as Australia leapfrogged to the top of the table before their last group game against Pakistan on Sunday.