Australia have retained the Champions Trophy by beating New Zealand comprehensively in the final at Centurion. New Zealand were on the backfoot straightaway having lost their Skipper Daniel Vettori due to hamstring and back strains. The Man of the Final was Shane Watson, who dazzled with a second consecutive century in this tournament. Skipper Ricky Ponting failed to score big but got himself the Player of the Tournament award for being the top run getter.
The makeshift Captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and elected to bat. New Zealand were in early trouble against the red hot pace coupled with late swing from Brett Lee. The innings never could get going and the Kiwis were a bit lucky to stretch their total to a respectable 200/9 in the allotted 50 overs. The top scorer of the innings was Martin Guptill who made 40 from 64 balls. Lower middle order batsmen – Neil Broom (37) and James Franklin (33) put up 65 runs for the 6th wicket which was instrumental in putting up some show for the Kiwis.
Brett Lee didn’t get a bagful of wickets and so did his new ball partner Peter Siddle but the fact was that they never allowed any real freedom for the Kiwis to get going. Off Spinner Nathan Hauritz benefited by the pressure exerted by the faster bowlers as he got gifted with three wickets.
The Aussies were expected to smash their way towards the total but they found themselves in a soup at 6 for 2 in the 3rd over. They lost the big wicket of Ponting through a magical inswinger from Kyle Mills. The match was nicely poised with Shane Bond and Kyle Mills earning a lot of respect from the Aussies. It was the pair of Shane Watson and Cameron White fighting it out for the chasing side, they began cautiously but slowly picked up the momentum to chip away at the target. The lack of penetration in the Kiwi bowling eventually got Australia out of the jail.
It was only in the 35th over that a breakthrough could come NZ’s way. White departed having played a responsible knock of 62 from 107 balls with 7 fours and a six. At his fall, Australia needed just a few over 50 runs to wrap up this match with Watson still hanging in there. Mills who had come back to take White’s wicket got the important one of Michael Hussey as well but the match and the tournament was safely in the Australia’s bag. Watson fittingly finished the match in the 46th over with two sixes to power his way to an unbeaten century. He got 105 from 129 balls with 10 fours and 4 sixes. Hopes eased whatever pressure that was there with an unbeaten cameo of 22 from 22 balls. For the Kiwis, Kyle Mills bowled his heart out with figures of 10-2-27-3.