|ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Lord’s|
|Australia 243-9 (50 overs): Khawaja 88, Carey 71; Boult 4-51|
|New Zealand 157 (43.4 overs): Williamson 40; Starc 5-26|
|Australia win by 86 runs|
Australia threw New Zealand’s bid to reach the World Cup semi-finals off course as they beat their old rivals by 86 runs.
The Black Caps made a poor fist of chasing 244, bowled out for 157 after a Trent Boult hat-trick earlier restricted Australia to 243-9.
Usman Khawaja (88) and Alex Carey (71) were the only batsmen to settle for the defending champions, adding 107 for the sixth wicket.
But New Zealand struggled to build partnerships in reply as Australia strangled them with disciplined bowling, Mitchell Starc taking 5-26 to lift his wicket tally for the tournament to 24.
In a repeat of the 2015 final, Australia emerged victors over their Trans-Tasman neighbours once again.
But having already booked their semi-final place with victory against England on Tuesday, this win maintained momentum in their bid to retain the trophy.
New Zealand’s second defeat in a row after going unbeaten for the first six games of the tournament leaves them still uncertain of reaching the knockout stage.
Their final group game comes against hosts England at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday, where both sides could need victory to reach the last four.
Having been edged out by Pakistan last Wednesday by six wickets, this defeat may well have left a few mental and physical scars after an impressive display in the field seemed to put them on course for victory.
David Warner headed off to hospital not long after the game to join his wife Candice, who is set to give birth to their third child either later tonight or overnight.
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|World Cup group table|
|Top four go through to semi-finals|
Australia show versatility in victory
For the first time since West Indies had them in disarray at Trent Bridge in their second game, Australia’s top-order batting failed to fire.
It left them, through some much-needed runs for number three Khawaja and another impressive effort by wicketkeeper Carey, to set New Zealand a modest 244 on a baking-hot June evening.
But back at the scene of their impressive win over England and on the same pitch where their seam bowlers better-exploited the conditions, it was a real team effort in this victory.
Captain Aaron Finch decided to use eight different bowlers, potentially to find out what alternative plans could be called upon in the semi-final.
But left-armer Jason Behrendorff (2-31) helped set the tone with another fine spell that accounted for openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls while Starc again proved too hot to handle.
However, surprise appearances with the ball from both Finch himself and Steve Smith – bowling in an ODI for the first time since January 2016 – helped turn the screw.
Smith’s occasional leg-spin saw him dismiss big-hitting Colin De Grandhomme for a golden duck and effectively ended New Zealand’s hopes.
Boult hat-trick caps off fielding blockbuster
Earlier in the contest, it all seemed set up for a New Zealand victory after an eye-catching display in the field.
Despite losing the toss and fielding first on the hottest day of the year, the Black Caps were straight into the much-vaunted Australia opening pair of Finch and Warner.
The tournament’s two leading run-scorers were back in the pavilion inside the first 10 overs for eight and 16 respectively, two dismissals which set up some show-stealing moments.
Martin Guptill, who had earlier put down two tough chances when Finch and Khawaja were both on nought, clung on to arguably the catch of the World Cup so far.
Not for the first time Steve Smith was on the receiving end.
He launched a full-bloodied pull shot off Lockie Ferguson, but Guptill clung on full stretch at short fine leg with a spectacular one-handed grab to bring the Lord’s crowd to its feet.
Not to be outdone, Jimmy Neesham joined the party by snaffling a superb caught and bowled low down to his left that accounted for the dangerous Glenn Maxwell for just one.
But the man to steal the show would be Trent Boult.
He took on the last over of the innings from the Nursery End and with it the wickets of Khawaja, Starc and Behrendorff with searing yorkers to complete the second ODI hat-trick of his career.
But even that feat of fine left-arm bowling would later be upstaged by his opponents from across the Tasman.
Australia captain Aaron Finch: “I’m very happy, from 92-5 a great partnership from Alex Carey and Usman Khawaja to get us to a really competitive total on a wicket that we knew was really going to slow up and turn.
“It was important that we tried to get some time in the middle, but not in the way that we did. It was a difficult surface to start on but I thought the way that Alex played, to strike the ball in the middle, was a really great innings.
“Mitchell Starc got the chocolates today and Nathan Lyon was as good as you would see in those conditions.”
On Smith’s unlikely wicket-taking contribution: “There was a bit of discussion – JL (coach Justin Langer), Punter (Ricky Ponting), myself, Smudge himself – he was confident, Brad Haddin as well. A lot of ideas go into planning meetings, it was nice one of them worked.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson: “Obviously it was a fairly challenging surface. We were able hit the wicket hard and put the ball in the right areas to get some rewards. It was a position of strength at the halfway stage of the first innings. A lot of credit goes to them for the way they rebuilt the innings and got to a competitive total.
“It was a tough old surface. Australia adapted better than we did with the big lads who hit the wicket hard.
“As we saw in the first innings, we needed one major partnership of 100 plus to soak up pressure and turn momentum. It wasn’t to be today. We need to improve and we move on quickly.”
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc: “We keep learning when we have to bowl second. But as a unit today, we were fantastic to keep such a good side to under 160.
“It was a fantastic effort from everyone. The fantastic thing with all 15 of our squad is we’ve got guys ready to go if called upon.
“Those picked today did a fantastic job and we’re finding ways to scrap and restrict teams. I think we’re improving with every game and we’ve executed really well over the past few games.
“We probably had the rub of the conditions bowling second, but we knew we had to take wickets throughout against a powerful batting line-up.”