Weather at Hobart played tantrums on Saturday. After winning the toss, Australia asked Scotland to bat first. Ideally Clarke would choose to have a first go on a fresh pitch but he decided otherwise with an early victory in his mind. Abandonment would have created problems for Australia as they could run into South Africa in the quarterfinals. The easier way was to bowl Ireland quickly and finish the game before full-scale rain could set-in, later in the day. Luckily for Australia, the first rain-affected delay arrived after Pat Cummins finished the 25th over. But by then, the bowlers had already reduced Scotland to 130/8. But the sky continued to be gloomy, the rain was getting heavier and the covers were on for two hours in Hobart. There was a nervous atmosphere in the Australian camp. Finally when, the covers came off, Starc bowled the 26th over and with his second and fourth balls he wound up the Scotland innings. After that, Australia had a small target and all 50 overs remained since the umpires didn’t enforce the D/L scenario until that point. Michael Clarke opened the innings with Aaron Finch and they went about hastening the pace. Though Finch got out early, there was Shane Watson to keep Clarke’s company. When Watson and Clarke got out, Australia still required 39 runs. They did it without frills and romped home with a 7-wicket victory much to the cheers of a motely crowd still watching the match at the Bellerive Oval.
On a day, when playing conditions were marred by inclement weather, Australia were a more worried team than Scotland, despite being favorites in their last league match. They wanted to come out victorious to avoid running into South Africa in the quarterfinals. Michael Clarke was lucky with the spin of the coin and he sent Scotland in with the objective of bowling them out quickly. Mitchell Starc was literally unplayable and Scotland openers Kyle Coetzer and Calum Macleod lived by the skins of their teeth. But not for long as Coetzer had one back of the length ball from Starc that he tried to punch on the back-foot. He only succeeded in edging the ball to Steven Smith in the slips. Macleod also fell in trying to cut a shortish ball from Starc but failed to keep the shot down and Warner held him at backward point. Next to go was skipper Preston Mommsen as he tried to pull a bouncer from Shane Watson but just managed a top-edge for Starc. It was one of the three ducks in the Scotland innings. Freddie Coleman and Richie Berrington also fell cheaply after one another in the 11th and 12th overs and Scotland were reduced to 51/5. Only Matt Machan, John Davey and Michael Leask held out among the falling heap around them. The best partnership came after the eighth wicket fell at 95, when Rob Taylor collected the second duck of the innings. Davey and Leask stood against Australian speedsters to add 35 runs for the ninth wicket. Then the play was interrupted by a 2-hour spell of rains that caused anxiety among the Australians. Finally, when Scotland came back, Davey was bowled by Starc. Next man Iain Wardlaw fell two balls later for the third duck of the innings, which folded at the same score of 130.
Michael Clarke came out with Aaron Finch to open for Australia. They went about their jobs quickly and in trying to hurry things up, Finch fell in the 4th over for 20 off 10 balls. Shane Watson joined Clarke and two batsmen carried the score to 88 by the 13th over. After making 24 off 23 balls, Watson top-edged to the keeper as he tried a lap-sweep. 4 runs later, Clarke also departed. Even so, there was no problem for Australia as their job was successfully finished by David Warner and James Faulkner. The two batsmen faced 6 deliveries each but Warner scored 21 and Faulkner 16 as Australia won the match by 7 wickets with 208 balls remaining in the match. With this victory, Australia finished at the second spot behind New Zealand in Pool A and they have avoided a clash with South Africa in the qurterfinals. In all likelihood, they would play against the West Indies, who are currently sitting at the third spot in Pool B.
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