Australia outclassed by Windies
Captain Ricky Ponting admitted Australia had been outplayed after slumping to a shock 10-run defeat against West Indies in their opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy.
The Australians, who have surprisingly never won this tournament, were restricted to 224 for nine chasing West Indies’ competitive target of 234 for six in Mumbai with seamer Jerome Taylor claiming a hat-trick.
It leaves Australia, the pre-tournament favourites, needing to win both their remaining matches against England and India to retain an interest in the competition.
“We were outplayed in all aspects of the game tonight,” admitted Ponting.
“We knew it was going to be tough chasing but I think we made it a bit harder than it probably should have been.”
West Indies’ total was built around a crucial 137-run stand off 176 balls between captain Brian Lara (71) and man-of-the-match Runako Morton.
Called in as a late replacement for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who contracted food poisoning, Morton was dropped on 41 by Ponting and went on to hit seven fours and a six.
Australia also lost early wickets but were favourites for victory until Adam Gilchrist was run out for 92 with nine overs remaining - and Taylor’s hat-trick sealed West Indies triumph.
Ponting continued: “I thought Brian and Morton played well in the middle of their innings, but we just couldn’t get that one wicket that we needed - if I’d have held on to that catch it might have been a bit different.
“We stuck to our task although I thought they go away a little bit towards the end.
“We were pretty happy chasing that kind of total. We knew it was going to be difficult but the game was there to be won and we weren’t good enough.”
Ponting added: “Every game in this series is important but now we’ve lost this first one it becomes very important for us.
“We’ve got a couple of days now until our next game and we’ve got to get away and work hard and talk about where we came up short in this game and hopefully we can improve for the next one.”
Ramnaresh Sarwan, who led the West Indies in the field after Lara injured his lower back during his innings, said: “We always wanted to post a total of around 220 or 230 because we thought that would be a reasonable total to defend.
“We stuck to our task and we were patient. It was a good team effort. I don’t think you could fault anyone.
“I had the full support of the team and when I had to make a decision I spoke to a few guys and they were very supportive.
“I enjoyed being captain. There were a few moments when I was a bit nervous but the guys helped me through.”