Australia vs Scotland: Quick flicks of the match
Will the Rain Gods stay away?
Considering the fact that minnows Scotland have lost all their 3 encounters against Australia previously, not many would have expected Preston Mommsen’s men to challenge the 5-time world champions when the two teams faced-off in match 40 of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Hobart.
Unlike other days, when a game between the two teams would have failed to garner the standard attention, this match was in the news even before it started, with rain threatening to disrupt the happenings during the course of play. A washout would not have harmed Scotland as they have already booked their tickets back home, but would have severely dented Australia’s chances of finishing second in Group A.
With 7 points in their kitty, a washout would have ensured that they finished with as many points as Sri Lanka. However, despite a better run rate, they would have been unable to clinch the 2nd spot, considering they had one less win than the South Asian Island.
According to the ICC rules for the 2015 World Cup, ‘In the event of teams finishing on equal points in its Pool’, the rule says, ‘the right to play in the quarterfinals will be decided in the following order of priority:
1. The team with the most wins in the Pool matches will be placed in the higher position.
2. If there are teams with equal points and equal wins in the Pool matches then in such case the team with the higher net run rate in the Pool matches will be placed in the higher position.’
With a game against Bangladesh already washed out, Clarke’s men needed nothing less than a victory to avoid finishing third and meeting South Africa, who finished Group B at second place, in the quarters. Luckily for them, despite 2 rain interventions, a victory was recorded and they await their Quarter Final opponents.
Michael Clarke opens the innings after 2008!
After a gap of nearly 6 years, Australia captain Michael Clarke came out to open the Australia innings along with Aaron Finch, dropping regular opener David Warner down the order.
Clarke, who had missed most part of the summer after a back injury had threatened to end his career, had indicated in the pre-match press conference about a shuffle in the middle order to allow himself and James Faulkner, also returning from injury, and Shane Watson, who has looked out of sorts this WC, adequate time in the middle before the business end of the event.
With the threat of rain hovering around Hobart, Clarke looked in a hurry to finish off the game as early as possible, hitting 2 sixes and 7 fours in his knock of 47 at a strike rate of 100.00. Before this game, Clarke had opened in 20 matches, scoring 829 runs with a high score of 103*.
Josh Davey, the only bright spot for Scotland
In an otherwise dismal tournament, Scottish all-rounder Joshua Davey emerged as the only positive for the Scots. With the bat, he could manage only 55 runs in 6 innings, but was a revelation with the ball, picking up 15 wickets in 6 games. He was the most successful bowler for a short period of time before Trent Boult overtook him with his haul of 2/56 against Bangladesh.
The 24-year-old right hander scored 26 in 35 balls in today’s game, his highest score this World Cup and signed off with the wicket of Shane Watson. He is currently the joint second highest wicket taker along with Boult and India’s Mohammad Shami.
Scotland fail to open their account in a World Cup game
Scotland, playing their third World Cup, signed out off the marquee event without a win, finishing at the 7th spot in Group A with a negative run rate. Their winless streak, however, traces back to the 1999 World Cup, which was held in England, where the Scots lost all 5 of their games. They failed to secure a win in the 2007 World Cup as well and with the ICC clamping down the participating teams to 10 in the 2019 edition, Scotland is likely to face a tough time qualifying for the next edition.
Talking of failed attempts to get off the mark, 5 of the Scottish batsmen were out for nought in their innings against Australia. They had recorded a similar feat in the match against New Zealand as well, where 5 batsmen were unable to get off the mark and are the only team to achieve this dubious feat in a single tournament.
Mitchell Starc ‘bowls’ his way to the record books
Mitchell Starc, the 6’5” left-hand bowler with the reputation of consistently bowling the toe-crushing Yorkers at 150kmph, ‘bowled’ his way to the record books by becoming the highest wicket taker after 38 games.
With 77 wickets in 38 matches, he is ahead of Saqlain Mushtaq (73 wickets), Shane Bond and Ajantha Mendis (72 wickets) and Waqar Younis who had 70 wickets in as many games.
The bowler picked up 4 wickets in just 4.4 overs, giving away only 14 runs and equalled Mitchell McClenaghan’s record of taking a 4-wicket haul on his first appearance against six different countries! He is currently the highest wicket taker of the World Cup with 16 wickets in 5 games.