Watson and Mitchell Johnson lived up to their pre-tournament
billing as they set up Australia's 91-run victory against Zimbabwe
in a Group A World Cup match here Wednesday.
Watson (79) starred with the bat as defending champions Australia
recovered from a bad start against some disciplined bowling by
Zimbabwe to put up 262/6 on the board.
Australia's famed pace attack then scythed through the Zimbabwe
top order, with Johnson taking four wickets for 19 runs.
The other Australian pacers, Brett Lee (1-34) and Shaun Tait
(2-34), also bowled impressively. Off-spinner Jason Krejza chipped
in with two wickets.
Zimbabwe had raised hopes after restricting Australia to a
chaseable total, but the batsmen failed to make a match of it. The
minnows lost wickets upfront and were soon four down for 44. Sean
Williams then scored 28 while Prosper Utseya (24) and Graeme
Cremer (37) provided some late thrust to the batting but by then
it was too late and they folded up for 171 in 46.2 overs.
Earlier, electing to bat, Australia recovered from a slow start.
The defending champions scored only 19 runs in the first seven
overs, with the Zimbabwean slow bowlers recording economical
spells and complimenting their only seamer Chris Mpofu (2-58), who
made good use of the new ball.
Australian openers Watson (79, 92 balls, 8x4, 1x6) and Brad Haddin
(29, 66b, 3x4) chose to bide their time in the middle and looked
rather restrained, with the first powerplay fetching only 28 runs.
But Watson soon cut loose, with Haddin happy playing the second
fiddle and runs came at a furious pace. Mpofu met with harsh
treatment in his sixth over when he was tonked for 17 runs.
Watson and Haddin added 61 runs in their opening stand when Utseya
gave his side the breakthrough by trapping Haddin leg before.
Skipper Ricky Ponting, playing his first international match after
his finger injury during the Ashes, looked in good touch, toting
up 28 runs, and with Watson rustled up 79 runs for the second
wicket before the two departed in quick succession.
Watson fell lbw to Cremer and an over later, Ponting was found
short of his crease to an accurate throw by Mpofu from mid-wicket.
Michael Clarke (58 not out) and Cameron White (22) steadied the
innings, adding 63 runs for the fourth wicket. The Zimbabwe
bowlers did a good job of taking wickets at regular intervals but
Clarke carried his bat through to anchor the Australian innings.
Scoreboard of the World Cup Group A
match between Australia and Zimbabwe at the Sardar Patel Stadium
in Motera here Monday.
Shane Watson lbw b Cremer 79
Brad Haddin lbw b Utseya 29
Ricky Ponting run out (Mpofu) 28
Michael Clarke not out 58
Cameron White b Mpofu 22
David Hussey b Price 14
Steven Smith c Chakabva b Mpofu 11
Mitchell Johnson not out 7
Extras: (lb-7, w-7) 14
Total: (for six wickets in 50 overs) 262
Fall of wickets: 1-61 (Haddin, 18.5 overs), 2-140 (Watson, 31.2),
3-144 (Ponting, 32.5), 4-207 (White, 44.6), 5-241 (Hussey, 48.1),
6-254 (Smith, 49.1)
Chris Mpofu 9 0 58 2
Ray Price 10 0 43 1
Prosper Utseya 10 2 43 1
Graeme Cremer 10 0 41 1
Brendan Taylor 3 0 23 0
Elton Chigumbura 2 0 18 0
Sean Williams 6 0 29 0
Brendan Taylor b Tait 16
Charles Coventry c & b Lee 14
Tatenda Taibu c Watson b Johnson 7
Craig Ervine lbw Johnson 0
Elton Chigumbura c Haddin b Krejza 14
Sean Williams c Watson b Tait 28
Regis Chakabva lbw Krejza 6
Prosper Utseya c Ponting b Hussey 2
Graeme Cremer c Haddin b Johnson 37
Raymond Price not out 5
Chris Mpofu c Haddin b Johnson 2
Extras (b 4, lb 9, w 3, nb 2) 18
Total (all out in 46.2 overs) 171
Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Coventry, 5.4 overs), 2-40 (Taibu, 10.3),
3-40 (Taylor, 11.2), 4-44 (Ervine, 12.3), 5-88 (Chigumbura, 21.2),
6-96 (Williams, 24.6), 7-104 (Chakabva, 27.2), 8-153 (Utseya,
39.2), 9-167 (Cremer, 42.4)
Shaun Tait 9 1 34 2
Brett Lee 8 1 34 1
Mitchell Johnson 9.2 2 19 4
Jason Krejza 8 0 28 2
Shane Watson 3 0 7 0
Steven Smith 5 0 24 0
David Hussey 4 1 12 1
Toss: Australia and chose to
Result: Australia won by 91 runs
Umpires: Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) and Richard Kettleborough
TV umpire: Amiesh Saheba (India)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)