Travis Head’s bulldozing hundred and game awareness in crunch moments helped Australia negate a marvellous century by Rachin Ravindra to register a thrilling five-run victory over New Zealand in their World Cup match here on Saturday.
The destruction of Head (109 off 67 balls) and his opening partner David Warner (81 off 65 balls) during their 175-run alliance upfront gelled well with some late-order biffing as Aussies overcame a middle-order meltdown to post 388 all out, after they were put into bat.
Ravindra made a sparkling 116 off 89 balls and James Neesham a manic 39-ball 58 but the Kiwis could only manage 383 to suffer their second successive defeat in the tournament.
The cumulative score of 771 posted by the two teams is highest aggregate score in a World Cup game surpassing 754 collectively notched up by South Africa (428) and Sri Lanka (326) in New Delhi on October 7, in this very event.
With this win, Australia have eight points from six matches, same as New Zealand, and they are firmly entrenched at No. 4 at this point.
But that position did not come without its moments of scares. Ravindra gave them the biggest of them all with an innings that belied his tender age of 23.
The left-hander does not have a big frame, but what he does have is immense timing that allows him to send the ball miles into the stands when required.
Pat Cummins will vouch for that. Ravindra picked up a length ball outside the off-stump from the pacer to cart it over the covers for a six, and it was a stunner.
His batting is easy on the eyes as well – good enough back-lift and a flowing follow-through make him a good addition to the elegant left-handers’ club.
But those technicalities aside, his temperament too should be patted as Ravindra batted without even an iota of pressure against a set of battle-hardened Aussies.
The Wellington lad, who was dropped on 100 by Glenn Maxwell off his own bowling, also pieced together good stands with fellow opener Devon Conway (61), 96 with Darryl Mitchell (54) for the third wicket and 54 with Tom Latham (21) for the fourth wicket.
Ravindra reached his hundred off 77 balls with a fine six off Maxwell over deep mid-wicket.
It was his second hundred in this WC after the one in the tournament opener against England at Ahmedabad.
He also joined Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Glenn Turner as the only Kiwi batters to have scored two hundreds in the World Cup.
But all that ended when Ravindra gave a catch to Maxwell at deep off Cummins.
Neesham did try his best to take Black Caps home with a breezy fifty but some limb-forgetting fielding by the Aussies on a dodgy HPCA stadium outfield in the last few overs denied Kiwis a remarkable win. Australia, especially Marnus Labuschagne, were quite exceptional in that phase and they even had to field with five fielders inside the ring in the final over for slow over rate.
But they summoned every ounce of experience and athleticism to emerge on the right side of the result.
Earlier, Head, who replaced Cameron Green in the playing 11, and Warner garnered 175 runs in a mere 19.1 overs.
Head was over-aggressive in his partnership with Warner, taking on New Zealand bowlers with disdain, and it was tough to imagine that this was actually his first match of the tournament.
The left-hander replaced Mitchell Marsh, who came in at No. 3, at the pole position and never really made Australia felt the absence of the big-hitting ‘Bison’.
Australia 388 all out in 49.2 overs (David Warner 81, Travis Head 109, Glenn Maxwell 41, Josh Inglis 38, Pat Cummins 37; Glenn Phillips 3-37, Trent Boult 3-77, Mitchell Santner 2-80) beat New Zealand 383/9 in 50 overs (Rachin Ravindra 116, Daryl Mitchell 54, James Neesham 58; Adam Zampa 3-74, Pat Cummins 2-66, Josh Hazlewood 2-70) by five runs.
Netherlands crush Bangladesh after Edwards’ fifty and clinical bowling
A clinical bowling effort complemented skipper Scott Edwards’ gritty half-century as Netherlands once again punched above their weight to secure a handsome 87-run win over Bangladesh in the World Cup here on Saturday.
Edwards overcame an edgy start to score a second World Cup fifty and take them to a modest 229 all out after they opted to bat on a fresh Eden wicket hosting its first match of the global showpiece.
Bangladesh found themselves ‘at home’ with the 15,000-odd crowd strongly rooting for them to revive their campaign after losing four games on the trot.
But their batters once again came up with an insipid show as they were unable to cope with the extra bounce as the Netherlands bowlers, led by Paul van Meekeren (7.2-0-23-4), aced the conditions beautifully to bundle them out for 142 in 42.2 overs.
Four single-digit scores from their top six batters summed up the plight of Bangladesh batters as they failed to live up to the expectations yet again. Bas de Leede bagged 2/25 in seven overs, while Aryan Dutt, Logan van Beek and Colin Ackermann took one each while bowling tidy spells.
This was a fifth defeat on the trot for Bangladesh and their campaign is as good as over with three matches remaining for them. They will take on Pakistan here on Tuesday in a seventh round clash.
If beating South Africa was not enough, the Dutch, who are the only Associate Nation in the tournament, proved that they are far superior than the Test-playing nation as they executed their plans with clinical precision to emerge winners.
Netherlands 229 all out in 50 overs (Wesley Barresi 41, Scott Edwards 68, Sybrand Engelbrecht 35; Mustafizur Rahman 2/36, Shoriful Islam 2/51, Taskin Ahmed 2/43, Mahedi Hasan 2/40)
Bangladesh all out in 42.2 overs. Mehidy Hasan Miraz-35 runs, Mahmudullah -20 runs. Paul van Meekeren-4/23.