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Ruthless Aussies rip Champs to shreds

Source - bbc.co.uk

Australia humiliated Twenty20 World Champions India at the MCG, bowling out the tourists for just 74 runs in before easily winning by nine wickets.

The ICC World Twenty20 champions gave an unedifying display of batting on a sluggish wicket and looked set to post the lowest total in the format.

But after plunging to 63-9 they scraped past Kenya's 73 in Durban in September 2007 thanks to Irfan Pathan's 26.

Michael Clarke's unbeaten 38 sealed the easiest of victories for the hosts.

India won the toss and elected to bat first, as an excitable crowd of almost 90,000 at the MCG relished what they expected to be a closely-fought contest.

They got anything but, however, as India - who had beaten Australia by 15 runs in the ICC World semi-final - imploded.

Virender Sehwag was run out by Clarke's brilliant direct hit in the first over with the total on five and by the middle of the seventh over, four further wickets had fallen.

Two batsmen drove Nathan Bracken's slower balls to mid-off, while Dinesh Karthik contrived to get himself bowled by a Brett Lee full-toss and Rohit Sharma was bowled as he tried to slog James Hopes across the line.

Clarke, skippering in the absence of Ricky Ponting who gave his sore back a rest, made some imaginative bowling changes.

Opting for occasional spinners in the shape of David Hussey and James Hopes in favour of himself and Andrew Symonds, he was handosmely rewarded.

India skipper Mahendra Dhoni laboure to nined before hitting his 27th ball, bowled by Hussey, straight to deep square-leg.

After Ashley Noffke had disposed of Praveen Kumar, Voges found himself on a hat-trick when dismissing numbers nine and 10. He bowled at Ishant Sharma with eight men around the bat.

The end came in the 18th over when Pathan gave retiree Adam Gilchrist a catch off Bracken, who captured 3-11 in 2.3 overs.

India had been weakend by the absence of the rested Sachin Tendulkar and the injured Yuvraj Singh, but a return of just three boundaries in their innings constituted a terrible disappointment with the Commonwealth Bank Series to come.

Aussie openers Gilchrist and Clarke could afford to take their time with the chase, and it was a patient reply until Clarke picked two Sree Santh slower balls in the sixth over, cutting the first for four and launching the second down the ground for six.

That left just 31 needed and a comedic bit of fielding in which two Indian fielders went for the same catch soon allowed Clarke a second life.

Gilchrist pulled Kumar for six before holing out at long-on to bid farewell to international Twenty20s with several waves of his bat to the vast, appreciative crowd.

Clarke and Brad Hodge knocked off singles for the next few overs to bring the scores level after 11 overs.

The match ended in low-key fashion, with a wide from Sharma.

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