Astle Demolishes the USA

Saturday, September 11 2004

New Zealand have thrashed the USA in their opening match of the ICC champions trophy, thanks to a scintillating 145 not out by Nathan Astle.

After winning the toss, US captain Richard Staple decided to send the New Zealanders in on a damp pitch, hoping to make use of the favourable conditions. His opening pair, Reid and Johnson bowled a tight line, making the batsmen struggle for their runs. Stephen Fleming succumbed to the early pressure and was out to Reid, slashing a wide delivery into the covers where he was caught by Leon Romero. Hamish Marshall followed soon after, top-edging to third man, leaving New Zealand stumbling on 43 for 2.

Styris joined Astle at the crease and together they played cautiously, pushing the ball into the gaps to keep the scoreboard ticking over. However, over time Astle began to play with more confidence, driving boundaries through the covers, while Styris started to pick up the pace, getting his strike rate close to a run a ball. By the 40th over, New Zealand had posted 200 runs on the board, 60 of which had come in the previous 10 overs.

Styris was eventually out for 75 off 78 balls, caught trying to hit over the infield. Astle managed to reach his 14th one day hundred soon after but Chris Cairns wasn’t able to offer any further support, following Styris back to the pavilion for just 3. The fall of Cairns’ wicket brought McMillan to the crease, who soon found his feet, smacking boundaries at will. He brought up his fifty in just 21 balls, including five sixes. Astle joined in the scoring spree and together with McMillan, they decimated the American attack, managing to smash 13 sixes.

Their partnership of 136 came off only 7.4 overs, equating to a run rate of 18.4. Astle ended his innings unbeaten on 145, the second highest score by a New Zealander in one day internationals. While McMillan finished with 64 off an amazing 27 balls, the sixth fastest fifty in one day history. By the 50th over the New Zealanders had blasted their way to a massive total of 347 for 4.

The US began strongly in reply, with Rohan Alexander and Mark Johnson putting together a solid opening partnership. However, with the score on 52, Jacob Oram struck a triple blow, picking up the wickets of Johnson, Leon Romero and Steve Massiah in the space of 5 balls. Cairns struck in the next over, picking up the captain Staple LBW for a golden duck to leave the US reeling on 55 for 4.

When Alexander fell to LBW to Oram just 2 overs later, it seemed as though the US would collapse to an embarrassing defeat. However, Clayton Lambert put together a fighting innings of 39 to offer some resistance and add a little respectability to the score. He was out caught to Vettori in the 38th over to leave the score on 122 for 8.

As expected, the US lower order crumbled under the continuous pressure of the New Zealand attack, with the last 3 wickets falling for just 15 runs. The stand out bowler, Oram, finished with magnificent figures of 36 for 5, while Vettori chipped in with 3 late wickets.

The American line up was completely outclassed to be bowled out for 137, a disappointing defeat of 210 runs.

The US now play Australia in three days time while New Zealand will have to face up to the world champions on the 16th of September.

Match Summary:
New Zealand 347/4 in 50 overs
NJ Astle 145*(151), SB Styris 75(78), CD McMillan 64*(27), RW Staple 76/2(10)
USA 137 all out in 42.4 overs
CB Lambert 39(84), JDP Oram 36/5(9.4), DL Vettori 14/3(10)

Man of the Match: NJ Astle (NZ)

New Zealand win by 210 runs.

Posted by Alex