Ruthless Australia bag maiden Champions Trophy title
by AFP

Ground:Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
Scorecard:Australia v West Indies
Player:IDR Bradshaw, JE Taylor, DR Martyn, GB Hogg, SR Watson, GD McGrath, NW Bracken, B Lee, DJ Bravo, CH Gayle, S Chanderpaul
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2006/07

DateLine: 5th November 2006


World number one Australia wrested the Champions Trophy from the West Indies with an eight-wicket victory in a disappointing rain-hit final here on Sunday.


Ricky Ponting's men won the biennial event for the first time bowling out the defending champions for 138 and then cantering home in the 29th over at the Brabourne stadium.


The target was revised to 116 from 35 overs after rain prevented play for two hours and 15 minutes after the dinner break which Australia took at 45-2 in 10 overs.


A buoyant Australia return home to prepare for the Ashes series against England starting in Brisbane on November 23 after adding the only major trophy missing from their overflowing cupboard.


Left-arm seamer Nathan Bracken took three wickets for 22 runs as the West Indies lost their last eight wickets for 58 runs after sailing merrily at 80-2 in the 10th over on a slow wicket.


A sell-out crowd of 35,000, noisily backing the underdogs from the West Indies, erupted when Australia slipped to 13-2 in the fourth over.


Adam Gilchrist was caught in the slips by Chris Gayle off Ian Bradshaw for two and Ponting was leg-before to Jerome Taylor for no score.


Damien Martyn and Shane Watson boosted the world champions with an unbroken third-wicket stand of 103 on either side of the rain interruption.


Watson returned unconquered on 57 and was declared the man of the final. Martyn was unbeaten on 47.


The West Indies, fielding seven players who won the last Champions Trophy in England two years ago, made a rollicking start as openers Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul plundered 49 off the first five overs.


Chanderpaul, who took 10 runs in Brett Lee's first over, hit 27 off 18 balls when he was bowled by Bracken with the first ball of the sixth over.


Left-hander Gayle, the top-scorer in the tournament with 437 runs from seven previous matches, hit Glenn McGrath for two sixes as he raced to 37 off 27 balls.


Bracken, who had claimed Ramnaresh Sarwan as his second wicket, ended Gayle's hurricane innings when he knocked back the off-stump with a superb delivery that moved in off the seam.


Gayle ended with 474 runs including three centuries and was named the man of the tournament. Team-mate Taylor was the leading bowler with 13 wickets.


Captain Brian Lara, given a rousing welcome to the crease by the crowd, plodded for 26 minutes for two runs before falling to a brilliant diving catch by wicket-keeper Gilchrist off McGrath.


Another Gilchrist catch off McGrath removed Runako Morton as the West Indies suddenly found themselves cornered at 94-5 in the 19th.


McGrath, who had conceded 22 runs in his first two overs, gave away just two runs in his next five before being replaced by Watson.


Watson struck in his second over when Marlon Samuels (seven) flicked a catch to Ponting who had stationed himself at mid-wicket for that particular shot.


Australia gained two further wickets off as many balls as Watson trapped Carlton Baugh leg-before with the final delivery of the 25th over and spinner Brad Hogg dismissed Dwayne Bravo (21) in similar fashion in the next over.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)