Australia Survive Wobble To Retain Champions Trophy
Australia 206-4 (Watson 105no, MIlls 3-27) beat
New Zealand 200-9 (Guptill 40, Hauritz 3-37) by six wickets
ICC Champions Trophy Final, Centurion
Shane Watson scored his second century in as many matches to guide Australia to the six-wicket win over New Zealand that saw them retain their ICC Champions Trophy crown in a low-scoring final to the 2009 tournament at Centurion.
Australia recovered from six for two to finish on 206 for four, Watson unbeaten on 105 after New Zealand could only reach 200 for nine from their 50 overs.
Despite the modest target, New Zealand were not about to stand aside and just let Australia coast home and a well-disciplined start from Shane Bond and Kyle Mills had Australia in trouble when Tim Paine (1) edged Bond to Ross Taylor at slip and Ricky Ponting was trapped in front by Mills for just one.
Mills bowled an incisive spell, returning figures of three for 27 which lifted him above the great Sir Richard Hadlee in New Zealand's ODI wickets list but his fellow bowlers weren't quite able to match his efforts.
Watson and Cameron White (62) put on a priceless stand of 128 for the third wicket, quite content and sometimes appearing just about able to see off the new ball onslaught and White was lucky when Brendon McCullum missed a skied pull behind the stumps with the Victorian on just 15.
That seemed to lift the Australians and blunt the New Zealanders and it was something of a surprise when Mills had White bowled off an inside edge and then induced Michael Hussey (11) to drive aerially to Jeetan Patel.
Watson was fully into his stride by then though, unfurling trademark drives and some devastating pulls and the end came quickly when he was joined by James Hopes, unbeaten on 22, who stroked four fours before slowing down to allow Watson to complete both his hundred and the win with two big sixes off of Patel.
Patel was only playing because New Zealand had been dealt a hammer blow ahead of the match when Daniel Vettori was ruled out with a hamstring injury although stand-in captain McCullum did at least win the toss and decide to bat first.
Things swiftly took a turn for the worse for the Black Caps, McCullum dismissed for a 14-ball duck when he edged Peter Siddle to wicket-keeper Paine.
An excellent bowling performance that never gave New Zealand the chance to break free saw wickets tumble regularly and only two partnerships of note helped New Zealand breach the 200 barrier, although that only came up when Patel slashed Brett Lee for a late boundary.
There were half-century stands between Martin Guptill (40) and Aaron Redmond (26) and later Neil Broom (37) and James Franklin (33), the latter coming after New Zealand were reduced to 94 for five when New Zealand's recent hero Grant Elliott was trapped in front by Nathan Hauritz.
The off-spinner also picked up the wickets of Redmond and Guptill to finish with three for 37, Lee returned two for 45 while Siddle and Mitchell Johnson also picked up a wicket.
Broom and Mills (12) were run out as Australia took complete control of proceedings and once White and Watson had seen off the best Bond and Mills had to offer, Australia never looked like losing and they eventually eased home in 45.2 overs.
Three years ago, the Champions Trophy was the only global crown they had never held; now they are the only side to have won it more than once.
© Cricket World 2009