Australia Open Trophy Defence With 50-Run Win
Australia 275-8 (Ponting 79, Johnson 73no) beat
West Indies 225 (Dowlin 55, Fletcher 54) by 50 runs
ICC Champions Trophy Group A, Johannesburg
Mitchell Johnson scored his maiden ODI half-century as reigning champions Australia held off a spirited West Indian challenge to win their ICC Champions Trophy Group A match in Johannesburg by 50 runs.
The West Indies, boosted by half-centuries from Travis Dowlin and Andre Fletcher, were bowled out for 225 after Johnson and Ricky Ponting passed fifty as Australia closed on 275 for eight.
Johnson's 73 not out in 47 balls enabled his side to take full advantage of the third Power Play despite having slipped to 164 for six when he came to the crease.
The West Indies welcomed back Kemar Roach before winning the toss and electing to bowl first and Roach struck with the first ball of the match to have Watson comprehensively bowled. Tim Paine (33) and Ricky Ponting, who stroked 79 in 94 balls, put on 85 for the second wicket before wickets tumbled to keep the game in the balance.
Before Johnson came in and smashed eight fours and three sixes, Mike Hussey (6), Cameron White (20) and James Hopes (5) all departed cheaply.
Nikita Miller bowled a superb spell of left-arm spin to return two for 24 in ten overs and while Roach and David Bernard both claimed two wickets, they were expensive, suffering as Australia cut loose late on, Johnson adding 70 runs with Brett Lee for the eighth wicket and then 34 in 12 balls with Nathan Hauritz (7 not out) for the unbroken ninth wicket.
With Dale Richards absent through injury, Devon Smith (17) opened alongside Andre Fletcher, who hit four fours and a six in an innings of 54, which, alongside Dowlin's 55 in 87 balls, gave the West Indies hope - the pair of them sharing a stand of 86 for the second wicket.
The run out of Fletcher got Australia back on top and they hardly looked back, continuing to take wickets to strangle the life out of the West Indies' run chase.
Floyd Reifer made 28 and Darren Sammy 20 and Chadwick Walton picked up his second duck in as many games but at least on this occasion he survived one ball before being bowled by Hopes.
The lower order offered little resistance against the Australians and Nathan Hauritz administered the last rites when he had Nikita Miller (4) and Kemar Roach (3) caught out, Peter Siddle and Watson also picking up two wickets.
The result all but ends the chances of the West Indies, finalists in 2006 and champions in 2004, of progressing. Their final game is against India on 30th September while Australia meet Pakistan on the same day.
© Cricket World 2009