Half century! Alex Carey 51 from 47 balls
36th over: Australia 170-5 (Khawaja 58, Carey 52) There’s the first false shot from Carey. Unfortunately for Neesham it comes off an inside edge past off stump and cuts back inside the keeper to race for four. That’s after Carey had slapped a pull shot for a boundary. The second of those raises his fifty, and he’s up past a run a ball as well.
35th over: Australia 160-5 (Khawaja 57, Carey 43) Williamson rattles through another over for four singles, seeing if he can sneak through his full ten before Australia notice.
34th over: Australia 156-5 (Khawaja 55, Carey 41) De Grandhomme bowls a few on the spot to Carey, dotting him up, but strays too short and Carey nails his pull for four. Every big shot he’s played has been crisp and sure.
33rd over: Australia 150-5 (Khawaja 54, Carey 36) Williamson continuing with his off-breaks. Presumably with two left-handers in, he wants to turn the ball away from them rather than have Sodhi spinning it in. So the skipper keeps tossing the ball up, trying to tempt something excessive from the batsmen. Three singles from the over.
Half century! Usman Khawaja 51 from 80 balls
32nd over: Australia 147-5 (Khawaja 53, Carey 34) The Kiwis are letting this slip, I fancy. A fifty up for Khawaja, who has been dropped twice. A fifty partnership up for this pair as well, in good time. Six from the de Grandhomme over. Carey scoring with relative ease and not much risk.
“Do I have enough credit in the OBI bank to be permitted to play the cameo role of jaundiced English observer for just a moment?” Alright Brian Withington, here’s your chance. “Where exactly do Australia keep their on/off switch? Would be nice to know because England’s is currently missing (or stuck). So great to see NZ warming up ominously for their last game, too.”
Australia has been off for just under four years. It’s just that the on switch has accommodated a couple of World Cup campaigns.
31st over: Australia 141-5 (Khawaja 49, Carey 32) Kane Williamson having a bowl. He did get a wicket against Pakistan, but that was Mohammad Hafeez, who specialises in getting out to part-time spinners. The singles keep coming, and a fat nick (not Santa Claus) from Khawaja’s bat.
30th over: Australia 136-5 (Khawaja 45, Carey 31) De Grandhomme goes for five runs. I’ve been distracted by trying to upload a photo from Peter Kell, which holds the answer to the mystery about throwing cricket bats off trains. But I can’t make the picture work. It’s of a sign on a Swedish train, I think banning vodka bottles or similar? It does look a bit like a cricket bat, I can confirm. Visual gags don’t work so well without the visual, sorry.
29th over: Australia 131-5 (Khawaja 44, Carey 27) Ferguson is using the short-pitched attack at Carey, sizzling one past him. Similiar to the Warner ball, but Carey dropped his gloves successfully. A couple more follow, then a gimme ball on leg stump that Carey clouts through square for four. Back and forth the needle goes.
28th over: Australia 126-5 (Khawaja 43, Carey 23) Colin de Grandhomme is back for Neesham, like for like. Tight in line and length, giving away only two singles.
Here’s a lovely email. “Following the CWC on guardian in Sweden on Inlandsbanan train going north to the Arctic circle. Swedes are curious about cricket. Here it looks like they are saying don’t throw cricket bats out of the train! Best wishes. Keep the great comments on CWC.”
Peter Kell, thanks for your message. I don’t entirely follow your meaning about the bats, but throwing cricket bats out of a train sounds fun. So if you’re going to do it, count me in.
27th over: Australia 124-5 (Khawaja 42, Carey 22) Here is Ferguson on cue. He’s swung around to the Pavilion End, perhaps hoping to use the slope to jag his short balls across Khawaja from leg stump to off. Khawaja jams a yorker, then uses that angle for a single to third man. Carey isn’t intimidated, driving through cover again for four! He’s in wonderful touch in this series, and perhaps this is Carey’s chance to do more than slice and slash 30 or 40 in the dying overs.
“Welcome as it is to come across Tom Eliot quotes on the OBO, I suspect they might be better saved for the England inquest in a few days,” write Geoff Wignall. “As examples: the ‘vacant interstellar spaces’ (have I remembered that right?) of the Vince defensive technique. The leadership’s tactical ‘thought’. Or maybe the sometime need to be ‘still and still moving’, as exemplified by Root but ignored by most. Fear in a handful of dust might yet represent the Ashes campaign.”
In the rooms the batsmen come and go, talking of Michaelangelo.
26th over: Australia 118-5 (Khawaja 41, Carey 17) I’d be very inclined to get Ferguson back on. Go for the win now. He’s only bowled four overs, and one more wicket all but does the job for New Zealand. Neesham continues, and Carey plays another perfect cover drive for four.
25th over: Australia 112-5 (Khawaja 40, Carey 12) Khawaja is going serenely along, putting his close scrapes out of mind. He’s got the reverse sweep going nicely against Santner, who is turning the ball into the left-hander. Khawaja cracked the code for this shot in Dubai last October, where he reversed the leg-spinner Yasir Shah to distraction while saving an unsalvageable Test against Pakistan.
24th over: Australia 108-5 (Khawaja 37, Carey 11) Neesham in to Khawaja and another catch is dropped! They’ve taken some rippers and dropped some mediums, and that was a medium. It would have been a good stretch from Latham behind the wicket, high and to his left with one glove, but it wasn’t flying off the outside edge, and another keeper would have held that. Khawaja does tend to go after wide balls, and he’s reprieved for a second time.
23rd over: Australia 105-5 (Khawaja 35, Carey 10) Huge leg-before shout against Khawaja, who’s beaten by sharp turn from Santer spinning into the left-hander. It hits Khawaja on his back leg, but could have been going down leg side or possibly bouncing over. I suspect that would have been clipping, umpire’s call. NZ don’t bother going upstairs. Khawaja gets off strike next ball, and Carey reverse-sweeps for four! Audacious shot, but smart enough with one man behind point and a big gap. It beats the cover sweeper running around, the shot gorgeously placed.
22nd over: Australia 97-5 (Khawaja 32, Carey 5) Alex Carey is next in, and picks up where he left off against England here a few days ago. He laces Neesham through cover from his second ball for four.
WICKET! Maxwell c & b Neesham 1 (Australia 92-5)
What a catch! Another stunner from New Zealand, this time from Neesham. Maxwell likes to take on the short ball, but he’s taking on a slowish seamer on a slowish surface. The ball stops on him, taking the toe end of his bat. That shouldn’t matter, it should just be lobbing away towards short cover for a dot ball. But Neesham is on the right foot for a dive, and hurls himself over away from the pitch. At six-foot-plenty, he just gets a hand under the ball.
21st over: Australia 92-4 (Khawaja 32, Maxwell 1) Mitchell Santner comes on for his first roll of the arm, left-arm orthodox, and Khawaja wants to take him on straight away. Unsettle him. So the batsman carves away behind point, and a diving attempt in the deep can’t stop four. Santner is affected, because he bowls too far leg side after that, and while Khawaja’s genuflecting sweep doesn’t make contact, the ball rolls for four extra wides. Maxwell gets off the mark with a nudge to fine leg.
20th over: Australia 81-4 (Khawaja 27) So Stoinis is out from the last ball of the over. He hasn’t done the job with the bat at all in this tournament, and the lack of all-rounder backup is an ongoing problem for Australia. It hasn’t cost them yet, but it might. A lot riding on Khawaja now. And Glenn Maxwell walks to the middle, with plenty of time left in the game for once. He needs to play accordingly, as he did on occasional in India and the UAE recently.
WICKET! Stoinis c Latham b Neesham 21 (Australia 81-4)
That partnership ends. Neesham would have been the bowler Australia was least worried about, but his line there was immaculate. Just on the off stump, using the Lord’s slope to deck away a touch, and Stoinis was just coming forward in defence and got a thin edge. Fine bowling.
18th over: Australia 72-3 (Khawaja 24, Stoinis 17) Jimmy Neesham comes on with his medium-pacers, and he settles into a nice tight line. Khawaja drives powerfully a couple of times, but can only drive straight and the field is well set for it. Just the one single for Stoinis from the first ball.
Shannon Campell is writing in from Deutschland, Deutschland, uber alles. “Hi Geoff, I’m following the OBO while catering a very swanky affair in Berlins western suburbs. I’ve already spilled a little anti pasti on my screen and im surrounded by Germans who are completely oblivious to what’s going in in the cricket world. Then I hear a little groan and I see one of the waiting staff checking his phone as Ferguson does for Warne, I think I might have an Aussie here, which spices things up enormously!
19th over: Australia 77-3 (Khawaja 26, Stoinis 20) This pair have added 30 now, and they’re looking decent. Three more singles from Sodhi’s over as they just look to hang in there. Pakistan are chasing 227 at Headingley and have lost an early wicket, Fakhar Zaman out to the young spinner Mujeeb.
17th over: Australia 72-3 (Khawaja 24, Stoinis 17) Sodhi is bowling nicely here, using a lot of flight, throwing in a googly that hits Stoinis on the pad and draws a loud appeal. Khawaja sweeps a couple, and that’s never his most convincing shot. He plays the reverse well when the ball is outside off, but his conventional sweep is often a bit heart-in-mouth.
Here’s Phil Withall. “This morning, on my walk to work, I caught up with the latest episode of the excellent The Spin podcast. In it the panel unanimously dismissed New Zealand as a threat to England’s qualification hopes. I was more than a little sceptical when I heard that statement, I am more so now.”
I hope that wasn’t the episode I was on? I’d never say such a thing.
“The Kiwis are so much more than they would appear on paper, a true collective of talent and camaraderie that could well be the dark horse the tournament needs. Even as an Englishman who has suffered so much pain during the 18 years I’ve lived in Australia I’d be very happy if they knocked England out and went on to upset millions of people and win the thing.”
16th over: Australia 68-3 (Khawaja 21, Stoinis 16) Ferguson carries on, and this is some spell. First he zings through a proper bouncer that has Khawaja leaping out of the way. Then, after Usman flays away a single with some trepidation, Stoinis is very nearly caught at mid-off. Stoinis can’t time his drive, and Ferguson’s pace sees it carry, and carry, then just bounce short of Williamson diving forward. The Kiwi skipper shakes his head ruefully at his bowler. So Ferguson goes back to the well and bowls the yorker he bowled to Faf du Plessis, except Stoinis is just able to jam down in a puff of dirt and adrenaline. “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”
15th over: Australia 61-3 (Khawaja 20, Stoinis 16) Stoinis is keen to get things going, so he takes on Sodhi and plays a lofted swat over mid-on. Less controlled than his cover drive, I can assure you. But gets away with it. Then a couple of singles follow. A little partnership forming.
14th over: Australia 61-3 (Khawaja 19, Stoinis 11) That is luvvverly from Stoinis. He has been in very average nick for a long while with the bat, but he does have clean strokeplay when he gets going. Could today be the day? He drives Ferguson on the up through cover for four.
13th over: Australia 55-3 (Khawaja 18, Stoinis 6) Ish Sodhi comes on for his first over of leg-spin. No immediate dramas, as the Australians collect five singles. John Ryan emailed before the last two wickets fell to ask what a good score was on this pitch, suggesting 270. I think that was about right, but Australia would do well to get 250 from here.
12th over: Australia 50-3 (Khawaja 15, Stoinis 4) Australia juggle the batting order with so many overs to go, and send in Stoinis ahead of Maxwell. Good move, as Stoinis also likes time to build into an innings. He gets a bonus boundary courtesy of Boult, who inexplicably fumbles while picking the ball up at third man and drops it while falling over the rope, only for it to roll onto the rope itself. Australia’s 50 is up, but their three biggest guns have been decommissioned.
WICKET! Smith c Guptill b Ferguson 5 (Australia 46-3)
What a catch! Third time lucky for Guptill. He’s dropped a tough one, a straightforward one, and now he snares a worldly one. Ferguson’s pace does for Smith, who is trying to hook a short ball but got it high on the splice. It goes flat rather than up, but Guptill at backward square leg takes off to his left and takes it one-handed away from his body. Exceptional, and Australia are rocking.
11th over: Australia 45-2 (Khawaja 14, Smith 5) Boult carries on, into his sixth. How many overs of his strike bowler will Williamson use? Smith drives down through long-on ground and strolls back for a third run.
10th over: Australia 40-2 (Khawaja 12, Smith 2) Another fumble for Guptill in the gully, who is being given a horror day by the ball. Smith skews a shot past him on the bounce for two. Ten overs done, a slow start for Australia and their two most prolific batsmen gone. This is now very interesting.
WICKET! Warner c Latham b Ferguson 16
What a delivery! What a start from Lockie Ferguson! First ball he bowls! Excuse the exclamation marks, but I’m exclaiming. Ferguson has been held back. He’s fast. He’s fierce. He has 15 wickets already in the World Cup, then he goes to 16 with his first ball in the match. It takes off from a fullish length, it rears at Warner like a viper, and though the batsman sways back to get out of the way, it flicks his glove as it soars through to Latham. Unbelievable bowling.
9th over: Australia 38-1 (Warner 16, Khawaja 12) Now it’s Khawaja’s turn to get moving, comfortably collecting a pair of twos from Boult, then glancing four fine. When Khawaja is scoring effortlessly, it’s a real problem for opponents. He can cruise when conditions are right. And he likes making runs against New Zealand.
8th over: Australia 30-1 (Warner 16, Khawaja 4) Warner is warming into his task, as he strides forward and whacks de Grandhomme with a lot of wrist back through mid-off. That was a kind of hockey slap more than a drive.
“I always support Australia but two things worry me about today’s match,” writes Kev McMahon. No one named Kev could support anyone but Australia, surely? “Firstly, it’s a dead rubber – we’re already in the semis, so will we care? (Historically, no.) Secondly, NZ plays better against Australia than anyone else. They hate losing to us, and fair enough too. Their memories go back way before any sandpaper…”
Their memories sure do, but they still tend to lose to Australia most of the time, unless someone named Hadlee is playing.
7th over: Australia 25-1 (Warner 12, Khawaja 3) Another close call for Australia, and Guptill, as Warner shapes to cut but is surprised by bounce from Boult, and ends up toe-ending the ball over point and over Guptill’s leap. Two runs result, then Warner feels more in control when he gets a ball whose shorter length he can read, and pull for four.
6th over: Australia 19-1 (Warner 6, Khawaja 3) Pretty ropey start from Khawaja, who prods around at de Grandhomme’s medium pace offerings before eventually knocking two runs to the leg side. I wonder if this is David Warner’s lowest score after six overs of a one-day innings.
“No,” writes Amod Paranjape sternly in answer to my earlier question. “New Zealand is going to win, mate as is Afghanistan. Gut Instinct.”
If you want to follow Afghanistan’s progress as they finish their batting innings, Tom Davies has you covered.
5th over: Australia 16-1 (Warner 6, Khawaja 1) The one consolation for Australia is that Khawaja bats best in one-dayers when he has plenty of time to get in, and time in the Powerplay. He has both now. But he’s almost sent back straight away, except Guptill drops another one! This was more straightforward, at slip this time. Leaning away to his right but it came direct and high enough to take. Boult should have had two. What will that cost?
“Morning Geoff, morning everyone,” writes Andrew Cosgrove in true Richie style. “I’m sitting in South London, wishing I was at Lord’s. It’s a beautiful day, and this could be a cracker. A lot will depend on whether Guptill can get out of this slump of form, and whether new man Nicholls can do better than Monroe. It would be interesting to see what Williamson and Taylor can do with a platform, rather than having to rescue a disastrous start again. Taylor feels like he’s due a score, it seems like he has done OK without reaching the heights we know he is capable of. But really, it all comes down to whether the Aussies can get Williamson early. They look worryingly like they are hitting form at just the wrong (or right, from your point of view, I guess) time.”
WICKET! Finch lbw Boult 8 (Australia 15-1)
Scott Lowe called it. Boult strikes early, over the wicket, a bit of shape on the ball and it came back into Finch, beating his inside edge and striking him a bit high but right back in front of his stumps. Finch has just gone past 500 runs for the tournament, but he’s been key to almost all of Australia’s wins. Big loss.
4th over: Australia 11-0 (Warner 6, Finch 4) If you’re labouring under the misapprehension that we know everything at the Guardian, I only just realised that Colin de Grandhomme bowled the second over. I just assumed it would be Lockie Ferguson, but Williamson must be hoarding his fast-bowling resources given he only has two front-line options. Watching live rather than on TV, I spent the entire second over wondering why Ferguson had changed his run-up and made it so short. And why he looked slow through the air and was bowling neat out-swingers. Anyway, that’s all airbrushed out of history now. De Grandhomme keeps his second over almost as tidy as his first, three runs.
3rd over: Australia 8-0 (Warner 5, Finch 3) First run of the day for Australia comes in the third over, as Boult gets too straight and Warner nudges a single. But they flow thereafter as Boult stays on the pads for both batsmen, with Finch whipping a couple through midwicket to provoke a great chase and save from Neesham, then gliding a single, before Warner whips four in similar fashion.
2nd over: Australia 0-0 (Warner 0, Finch 0) Colin de Grandhomme from the Nursery End now. He has Finch defending, then driving to cover, then dropped! Very tough chance. They’ve packed the off-side field to let Ferguson attack off stump. Guptill is in at a very short cover, and Finch drives hard, hit it flush, and Guptill dives across to save. The ball carried but was struck so hard that it bounced off his hand. Morally that’s four runs saved rather than a catch gone down. Finch cracks another drive straight to mid-off. The Kiwis are switched on today. Another maiden.
“Hi Geoff,” writes Anna Halford. “Very excited about the trans-Tasman clash today (Kiwi supporter). Deep respect for the Aus bowling attack, though, and they’ll have their tails up from the England match too, which is worse. Following from Cameroon on a mobile signal so the OBO is my only link with the day’s play – I’m counting on you. Hoping to be raising a beer to a Black Cap victory later!”
Once more into the break for you and all, Anna.
1st over: Australia 0-0 (Warner 0, Finch 0) And we are away! Trent Boult to start things off to Warner. Boult is bowling left-arm swing from the Pavilion End, and he’s swinging it immediately. Warner is content to cover up and wait. Once punch nearly squeaks through cover, but is well fielded. One ball from Boult holds its line and takes a thick edge on the bounce to gully. A maiden to start.
Since you might all be sick of me before long, I’ll start with a very kind email from Brian Withington. “Just finished luxuriating in your sublime description of the Mitchell Starc dismissal of Ben Stokes, he gushed. I particularly enjoyed your metaphor of the relaxed wrist ‘opening a warm bread roll’, which brought back fond memories of the Duckworth-Lewis celebration of Shane Warne’s ball of the last century https://youtu.be/wa_iG_W0gvk, with its imaginary ‘cheese roll’ that would never have evaded the bemused Mike Gatting.”
Thanks Brian. If you want a longer pre-match read, here it is. Who says I can’t write 1500 words on one delivery?
Ten minutes to go, with the anthems and all that stuff to come. You can fill in a minute by reading Virat Kohli’s assessment (with some sympathy) of the England team’s current predicament. He’s not shy of an answer, Kohli.
What is everybody’s hunch today? It feels like a comfortable Australian win for me. New Zealand have won a lot of games but had some tight squeezes. Australia have won the toss on a batting day. They still don’t look like a complete team: they’ve won their matches based on some big opening partnerships, a couple of handy score boosts from Smith and Maxwell, and consistent genius bowling by Starc backed by dot-ball pressure from Cummins. A couple of other players have made cameos. But ultimately Australia have been consistent, even if they have parts of the XI that don’t click.
Teams – New Zealand
Two changes for the Kiwis, with pacer Matt Henry making way for leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, and opening bat Colin Munro dropped for Henry Nicholls after a poor run of form. One Henry in, one out. But still a Colin, thankfully.
Colin de Grandhomme
Teams – Australia
No changes for Australia, who go in with the team that beat England.
Aaron Finch *
Australia win the toss and bat
That’s a bit advantage for the green and gold. Runs on the board will be key today. It’s a used pitch, and even the two fresh ones here this week have been slow and hard to time shots on.
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Good morning from the House of Lords. Wait, sorry, that’s the other joint across town, where democracy’s shining sword cleaves shiningly through the thickets of governance. Good morning from a house, of Lord. The chap who has been confusing people with a possessive apostrophe since the dawn of cricket. Apostrophes can be very possessive. Once they get hold of you they won’t let you go.
Australia and New Zealand today. The supporters are streaming in already, with more yellow shirts than I saw in the whole match against England. Has the trans-Tasman rivalry seen my fellow nationals fire up, or is it just that English people didn’t dominate the ballot and the resale market? There are plenty of people who applied for tickets but missed out on every game, and plenty of others who didn’t but are paying way over the odds from scalpers.
But put aside all those worries. Let us fiddle while Rome burns. Well, while France burns anyway. It’s a warm but not terrifyingly-end-times hot in London today, like a nice mid-range day in Sydney. A bit humid, bright sunshine. Away we go.