Australia Book Place In Finals With 87-Run Win
Australia 252-9 (Warner 68, Wade 56) beat
India 165 (Watson 2-9) by 87 runs
Commonwealth Bank Series, Sydney
Australia booked their place in the finals of the Commonwealth Bank Series with an 87-run win over India in Sydney as Shane Watson celebrated a victory making his first start as Australia captain.
He was promoted to the role after Michael Clarke was unable to play due to a back injury and saw his side score 252 for nine and then dismiss India for 165.
The comfortable victory guarantees Australia's place in the finals although India can still qualify if they beat Sri Lanka in their next match with a bonus point and Australia also beat Sri Lanka again.
India started the match the stronger after Australia won the toss and chose to bat as Praveen Kumar removed Watson for one and Peter Forrest for seven.
Michael Hussey was then run out for ten but Australia built again through David Warner, David Hussey and Matthew Wade. All three scored half-centuries, Warner hitting 68 in 66 balls to take advantage of the Power Play, Hussey made 54 in 64 balls and Wade 56 in 66 deliveries.
Umesh Yadav dismissed Hussey and Wade and Ravi Jadeja had Warner caught by Suresh Raina as India fought back and a late triple strike from Virender Sehwag (3-43) prevented Australia getting as many late runs as they would have liked as Daniel Christian (24), Clint Mckay (1) and Brett Lee (4) fell, leaving Xavier Doherty unbeaten on 13.
As it happened, they had more than enough runs as another poor performance from India's top order left them virtually out of the game at an early stage.
Sehwag (5), Sachin Tendulkar (14), Gautam Gambhir (23), Virat Kohli (21), Raina (8) all failed to forge partnerships as India slipped to 89 for five as Watson grabbed a brace of wickets with Ben Hilfenhaus and McKay taking one apiece.
Tendulkar was run out by Warner and the wickets continued to tumble as Mahendra Singh Dhoni was trapped in front by Hilfenhaus for 14 and Christian had Jadeja caught by Watson for eight.
Ravi Ashwin and Irfan Pathan then added a swift 30 runs by scoring 26 and 22 respectively before they were dismissed by Doherty and Lee respectively and Doherty completed proceedings by bowling Kumar for one to return two for 26.
Watson finished with two for nine, Hilfenhaus two for 50, Lee one for 26, McKay one for 27 and Christian one for eight.
India play Sri Lanka in Hobart on Tuesday (28th February) while Australia meet Sri Lanka in the final group game on Friday (2nd March).
© Cricket World 2012