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Australia vs England at the World Cup


Australia_England_ODI_World_Cup_CricketWhile the battle between Australia and England is at its fiercest in Tests, it has also produced a strong ODI rivalry over the years. Australia hold the historic edge, with an 81-61 record in 147 ODIs, and also have a 5-2 lead at the World Cup. However, England have dominated Australia of late, having won ten of the last 11 ODIs. As the teams gear up for their World Cup match at Lord’s on June 25, here is look back at past Anglo-Australian tussles in the tournament’s history.

Gilmour’s defining moment – Semifinal, Headingley, 1975

Left-arm seamer Gary Gilmour’s stirring all-round show on a damp pitch guided Australia into the final of the inaugural World Cup. Gilmour, playing in the tournament for the first time, destroyed the English batting by taking the first six wickets, leaving the score at 36/6. When lunch was taken, England were 52/8, before captain Mike Denness and Geoff Arnold dragged the total to 93 in 36.2 overs. Gilmour ended with 6/14 in 12 overs – the first six-wicket haul in ODIs.      

Openers Alan Turner and Rick McCosker put on 17, before Geoff Arnold removed the former. At the other end, John Snow got rid of the Chappell brothers – captain Ian and Greg. Soon after, Chris Old’s three-wicket burst left Australia reeling at 39/6. Enter Gilmour, who joined Doug Walters in the middle. The duo added a much-needed 55* for the seventh wicket, thus giving Australia a four-wicket victory in the 29th over. Gilmour top-scored with 28* from as many balls.

Hosts prevail in emphatic fashion – Group Stage, Lord’s, 1979

With many of their key players absent due to the exodus to Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, the Australians found the going tough in their opening game of the 1979 World Cup. Despite an opening stand of 56 between openers Andrew Hilditch (47) and Rick Darling, Australia lost their way as the innings went on, collapsing from a steady 97/1 to lose eight wickets – four of them to run-outs – for just 56 runs. The final total from the stipulated 60 overs read an uninspiring 159/9.  

Australia were provided with an ideal start in the chase, as fast bowlers Rodney Hogg and Alan Hurst accounted for Geoff Boycott and Derek Randall respectively to reduce England to 5/2. However, captain Mike Brearley (44) and Graham Gooch (53) steadied the ship, and shut Australia out of the match by adding 108 for the third wicket. Both batsmen fell to Trevor Laughlin, but they had done enough to ensure a six-wicket victory for England with 77 balls left.

A gripping summit clash at the Eden – Final, Calcutta, 1987

Allan Border elected to bat after calling correctly at the Eden Gardens, and openers David Boon and Geoff Marsh justified the decision with a partnership of 75. Boon put on another 76 with Dean Jones for the second wicket, and went on to score 75 off 125 balls before being fourth out at 168. Mike Veletta joined Border at this stage, and the pair added 73 in just ten overs, propelling the total to 253/5 after 50 overs. Veletta hit 45* off 31 balls – a highly crucial innings.

Craig McDermott dismissed Tim Robinson early for a duck, but at 135/2 after 31 overs, England seemed to be on course. Captain Mike Gatting (41) was consumed by Border’s left-arm spin at this point, but Bill Athey (58) and Allan Lamb (45) kept England afloat. The score was 235/7 at the start of the 49th over, in which Steve Waugh conceded just two runs, while taking a wicket. Scoring 17 in the last over off McDermott was a tall order, and England were restricted to 246/8.   

Botham’s final fling against the old enemy – League Stage, Sydney, 1992

This was the fourth match of the tournament for both teams. Defending champions Australia, having already lost to New Zealand and South Africa, needed a win to keep their campaign on track. But the great Ian Botham, aged 36 and in the twilight of his career, starred with both ball and bat to help England to a facile win at the SCG. After Australia elected to bat, promoted opener Tom Moody (51) and Jones shared a third-wicket stand of 71 to carry the score to 106/2.

Both batsmen perished within the space of eight runs, but at 145/4 in the 38th over, Australia had their sights set on a competitive total. Botham (4/31) put paid to such hopes though, as he sensationally grabbed four wickets for no runs in seven balls. Australia were bundled out for 171, but Botham was not done yet. He struck 53 in an opening partnership of 107 with captain Graham Gooch (58), thereby laying the platform for England’s eight-wicket win in the 41st over.    

Bichel and Bevan stun England – Group Stage, Port Elizabeth, 2003

Left-handed openers Marcus Trescothick and Nick Knight gave England a rapid start, adding 66 inside ten overs. Pacer Andy Bichel provided the opening by dismissing Knight in his first over, and then struck twice in his next. At the other end, Trescothick fell to Glenn McGrath, soon after which Bichel collected his fourth victim to leave England at 87/5. Alec Stewart (46) and Andrew Flintoff (45) put on 90 for the sixth wicket, before Bichel scalped the latter to complete his fifer.  

Bichel added two more wickets to finish with 7/20 – the second-best figures at the World Cup – as England ended at 204/8. Andy Caddick (4/35) rocked the Australian top order to reduce the score to 48/4, which duly became 135/8 in the 38th over. However, Bichel (34*) joined Michael Bevan (74*) at this stage, and the pair proceeded to break English hearts by stitching together an incredible stand of 73*, which culminated in Australia’s two-wicket win with two balls to spare.     

Australia reaffirm their supremacy – Super Eight Stage, North Sound, 2007

Less than two months earlier, England had defied the odds to beat hosts Australia 2-0 in the best-of-three finals of the triangular Commonwealth Bank Series, thus serving a reminder of their capabilities. Nevertheless, that counted for little at the World Cup, as Australia again showcased their liking for the big stage in this Super Eight fixture in Antigua. Speedster Shaun Tait rattled England early on, castling captain Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss to make the score 24/2.

Ian Bell (77) and Kevin Pietersen combined for a third-wicket alliance worth 140, but once they were separated, Australia clawed back with regular strikes. England lost their last five wickets for only 17 to be bowled out for 247, with Pietersen scoring 104 from 122 balls. Australia were never really troubled in their chase, and motored to a seven-wicket win in 47.2 overs. Captain Ricky Ponting scored 86, sharing in a third-wicket partnership of 112 with Michael Clarke (55*).

Finch sets the ball rolling – Group Stage, Melbourne, 2015

Australia’s opening match of the tournament at a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground was headlined by a match-winning ton from opener Aaron Finch. David Warner and Finch raced to a first-wicket stand of 57, but Stuart Broad grabbed the wickets of the former and Shane Watson in successive balls. Australia slipped to 70/3 when Chris Woakes bowled Steven Smith, at which point George Bailey, captaining in place of an injured Clarke, joined Finch to revive the innings.

Finch added a game-changing 146 with Bailey (55) for the fourth wicket, before falling for 135 from 128 balls. Glenn Maxwell maintained the tempo with a blazing 40-ball 66, and though Steven Finn (5/71) took a hat-trick off the last three balls, Australia finished with a mammoth 342/9. In reply, England crashed to 92/6 against the medium pace of Mitchell Marsh (5/33), and it was only due to an unbeaten 98 from James Taylor that they could reach 231 in the 42nd over.

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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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