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Ruthless Australia thump Kiwis by seven wickets

Nagpur: Brad Haddin and Shane Watson slammed fifties as Australia beat new Zealand by 7 wickets in their World Cup match.

Earlier, Ricky Ponting was stumped by McCullum off Southee but Australia were still in control at 167/3.

Both Brad Haddin and Shane Watson departed in quick succession after putting up 133 for the first wicket.

Australia took complete control of the match against New Zealand as openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin cracked fine fifties.

After bundling the Kiwis for just 206, Australia got off to an excellent start as they reached 74/0 in the first 10 overs.

Earlier, Nathan McCullum stood tall amid ruins with a fighting half-century as the pace duo of Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait shared seven wickets between them to help Australia bowl out New Zealand for 206 in their group B World Cup match at VCA Stadium in Jamtha here on Friday.

Courtesy Nathan`s gritty 52 off 76 balls, New Zealand crossed the 200-run mark after Aussie bowlers blew away the top-six within 17 overs with 73 on board.

Nathan shared 48 runs for the seventh wicket with Jamie How (22) and 54 runs with skipper Daniel Vettori (44) but Kiwis could not bat for the complete quote of 50 overs and were all out in 45.1 overs.

Both Tait (3/35) and Johnson (4/33) bowled with pace and accuracy which made things difficult for the Kiwi batsmen in the match which is also being played for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.

After overnight rain, Australian captain Ricky Ponting elected to field as conditions were bit overcast.

Tait and Johnson were ably complemented by Shane Watson (1/9) and Brett Lee (1/29) and the pace quartet ensured that Ponting`s decision to bowl first was vindicated.

All of them pitched the ball fuller, got a bit of movement and were also helped by some lousy shots played by the Black Caps batsmen.

If Tait`s bowling was all about raw pace, Johnson got deliveries to swing away from the batsmen at a brisk pace. Although Jesse Ryder pulled a couple of short ones from Johnson, none of the top-order batsmen were ready to apply themselves on a pitch which eased out with time.

Both Nathan and Vettori showed that it was not difficult to play shots once the batsmen got their eye in.

In the morning, the first to go was Brendon McCullum (16). The Kiwi opener used Tait`s pace to get two boundaries with upper cuts. One such slash off a delivery that had extra yard of pace ballooned up and was easily caught by Jason Krejza at thirdman.

Martin Guptill who struggled for his 10 from 25 balls was a bit unlucky though. Shane Watson found a spot outside off-stump where the deliveries didn`t take off after pitching.

The ball kept low as it whizzed past the toe of Guptill`s bat to hit the off-stump.

Ryder (25) started off well as he took four boundaries off Johnson. Three of them were sweetly timed pull shots that bisected the fine leg and square leg fielders.

In the 14th over, Johnson lent a telling blow as he first got Ryder and then James Franklin (0) to reduce the Kiwis to 66 for four.

Ryder, who plays with minimal footwork, got one that was full pitching on the off-stump and moving away. The burly New Zealander just poked at the delivery to offer a simple catch to Brad Haddin behind stumps.

Franklin, who came in at No. 5 flashed at a wide delivery to be caught by Haddin.

Tait who was brought for his second spell from the pavilion end was buoyed by Johnson`s success. He first got Scott Styris (0) to edge at fast and straight delivery outside off-stump. The fastest among Aussie quartet then bowled an in-swinging Yorker to end Ross Taylor`s (7) misery.

In the 17 overs, New Zealand were tottering at 73 for six with more than half of the side back in the pavilion. Nathan and How, who replaced Jacob Oram, averted any further collapse for the next 12 overs adding 48 runs in the process.

Finally, it was leg-spinner Steven Smith who bowled a straighter one that thudded into How`s pads. The batsman appealed for a review which went against him.

PTI

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