Hobart, March 14:
Australia hammered Scotland by seven wickets in a rain-marred cricket World Cup match to secure second position in Pool A at the Bellerive Oval here on Saturday.
Pacers Mitchell Starc (4/14) and Pat Cummins (3/42) led the charge for Australia by bowling out minnows Scotland for a paltry 130 in 25.4 overs.
In reply, Australia skipper Michael Clarke moved up the order to give himself some time out in the middle. The right-hander scored a run-a-ball 47.
Aaron Finch (20), Shane Watson (24), James Faulkner (16 not out) and David Warner (21) completed the formalities with three wickets and 34.4 overs to spare. It was the four-time World Cup winners’ second biggest victory in terms of balls to spare.
Medium pacer Josh Davey, 24, removed Watson to continue to take his tally to 15. Rob Taylor took the wicket of Finch, while Iain Wardlaw accounted for Clarke.
With this win, Australia, who had already reached the quarter-finals, are second in Pool A with nine points from all the six matches. They lost to New Zealand and were forced to share points with Bangladesh due to rain in another match.
“Fortunately we got enough time (today), credit to the way the boys played. It’s always nice to win. I don’t think there’s any better preparation for a quarter-final,” Clarke said after the match.
For Scotland, it was their sixth loss on the trot. They even lost to debutants Afghanistan and finished last in the seven-team pool.
“We knew it was always going to be a tough game. We wanted to stand up to the challenge,” Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen said regarding the match.
He added: We take a huge amount of positives from the past six games. The more we’ve played, the better we’ve gotten. We leave the World Cup a much stronger team.
“As a team we’re very proud of (Davey’s) achievements, he can hold his head high. Our focus now shifts to the World T20 qualifiers, hopefully we’ll be able to qualify.”
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh finished third and fourth to enter the quarter-finals. Much-vaunted England had a disastrous World Cup. They managed to win only two games and finished ahead of sixth placed Afghanistan.
Earlier, sent in to bat on a lively pitch, the Australia bowlers exploited the conditions to the hilt. Experienced Kyle Coetzer failed to open his account in 11 balls before he fell to left-armer Starc.
Opener Calum MacLeod (22) and Mat Machan (40) had just put up a 28-run partnership for the second wicket and were looking good before MacLeod became Starc’s second victim with the score at 36/2 in seven overs. Thereon, the Scottish batting order totally collapsed.
Skipper Mommsen (0), Freddie Coleman (0), Richie Barrington (1) lost their wickets to Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Glenn Maxwell, respectively. From 36/2 in seven overs, Scotland were reduced to 51/5 in the 12th over.
Wickets continued to tumble as Cummins removed Machan (40) and wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Cross (9) in the 17th over as Australia controlled the match with aggressive bowling.
Cummins took his third wicket in the form of Taylor (0). Davey (26) and Michael Leask (23 not out) stitched a 35-run stand for the ninth wicket before Starc removed the former in the second ball of the 26th over as Scotland stooped to 130/9.
Two deliveries later, Wardlaw (0) had his stumps rattled by Starc and Scotland were bowled out for 130.
Brief scores: Scotland 130 all out in 25.4 overs (Mat Machan 40, Josh Davey 26; Mitchell Starc 4/14, Pat Cummins 3/42) lose to Australia 133/3 in 15.2 overs (Michael Clarke 47; Rob Taylor 1/29, Josh Davey 1/38). (IANS)