Australia through to final
Australia reached their first-ever ICC Champions Trophy final after beating arch-rivals New Zealand by 34 runs.
Ricky Ponting’s men appeared on course for the most comprehensive victory of the tournament under the Mohali lights when the Kiwis imploded to 35 for six but a century stand between Daniel Vettori and Jacob Oram narrowed the margin considerably.
Asked to bat first, Australia lost early wickets but posted 240 for nine thanks to half-centuries from Ponting and Andrew Symonds.
On a surface which offered pace and bounce veteran Glenn McGrath then decimated the New Zealand top order with a spell of 10-2-22-3.
Last week Pakistan’s batting crumbled against South Africa on the same strip but the Kiwis brought about their own downfalls with poor application.
McGrath, whose place in the Australian side at the age of 36 has come under scrutiny Down Under, enjoyed the favourable conditions and began the rout when he put Lou Vincent out of his misery.
Vincent, who made just a single, edged to second slip from his 15th delivery to begin a spell of six wickets for 19 runs in nine overs.
McGrath’s new-ball partner Brett Lee had nipped one back to bowl Nathan Astle by the time he struck a second blow - a static waft from Hamish Marshall offering a simple chance to wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist.
In a classical piece of fast bowling, McGrath peppered Peter Fulton with short balls before locating off-stump with a fuller delivery.
In between that dismissal left-armer Nathan Bracken snared the prize scalp of Black Caps' captain Stephen Fleming with one that swung away and had Brendon McCullum caught at mid-on from a mishit drive.
The contest would have taken a far different course had Bracken’s ability to locate the edge of the bat gained further reward in the 19th over but Vettori survived when Mike Hussey fluffed a dolly at slip.
Vettori, who went on to make 79 off 103 deliveries, was on five at that juncture and his departure would have left New Zealand 47 for seven.
Almost from the moment Oram clipped the next ball off his pads for four the momentum swung towards the Black Caps.
With McGrath bowled out and the dew making the ball difficult to grip and the pitch more batsman-friendly, the two left-handers flourished.
Bracken’s figures were tarnished when 15 were taken from four successive deliveries and their overall share of 103 occupied just 21 overs.
Although Australia were always in control due to their successes with the new ball, there was some frustration in the field, particularly when Oram’s cut off Shane Watson was scooped up on the half-volley by Michael Clarke at point.
He had added just four further runs, however, when a flash of Adam Gilchrist’s gloves whipped off the bails to execute a stumping off Symonds’ off-spin.
When Vettori deflected a yorker from Mitchell Johnson into his stumps to be ninth out the required rate was hovering around eight.
Some powerful hitting from Kyle Mills threatened to create further excitement but a 26-run stand for the 10th wicket was culled when Brett Lee found the edge with a short ball.
Earlier Mills’ ability to extract bounce accounted for Australian openers Shane Watson and Adam Gilchrist inside the first three overs.
But Ponting took stock from a position of four for two, shuffling his side away from danger alongside Damien Martyn.
When he finally fell in Mills’ second spell, the baton was seized by Symonds, who hit a run-a-ball 58.