cricket20 :: Ruthless Aussies restrict England
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Ruthless Aussies restrict England

Australia produced a masterful display in the field to bowl England out for only 135 in their World Twenty20 game.

England knew they could eliminate the favourites and 50-over world champions with victory at Newlands but could slip out themselves with a heavy defeat.

But they never managed to break free, although Andrew Flintoff gave them hope by clubbing 31 in 19 deliveries.

Seamers Mitchell Johnson (3-22), Stuart Clark (2-24) and Nathan Bracken (3-16) all had too much nous for the batsmen.

It was the perfect response from Australia to their humbling by Zimbabwe on Wednesday and this time they had much more bite in their bowling and were far more switched on in the field.

Captain Ricky Ponting, who was fiercely critical of his team afterwards, cleverly marshalled his troops and rang bowling changes frequently to upset the batsmen's rhythm.

Matt Prior and Darren Maddy had little width to latch on to and struggled to make decent contact anyway with anything within range.

Prior made room to carve Bracken over extra-cover for six but it was no surprise when an ungainly heave off Johnson was snapped up at deep mid-wicket, while Luke Wright failed for the second game running by edging Johnson behind.

Maddy also swished and missed regularly and was bowled by Clark off a free-hit before mis-timing a slog straight to mid-off.

A change in pace brought some respite, as Paul Collingwood - who won the toss for the second game running - cracked Andrew Symonds over mid-wicket and behind square-leg for successive fours.

The skipper then swung Lee over mid-wicket for six off a free-hit in the 11th over but was lbw when he missed a full-toss next ball.

Kevin Pietersen, who had talked before the game of "humiliating" the world's best team, drove his first ball from Johnson quite gloriously through the covers, and again the onus was on him.

When Flintoff crashed Lee past mid-off and extra-cover, and carved him behind point for successive boundaries, the stage set for an onslaught from England's most attacking batsmen.

But Pietersen was bowled by Bracken making room and though Owais Shah and Flintoff launched straight sixes off Symonds, the big all-rounder perished just when he was starting to motor.

Flintoff followed a mighty swipe to mid-wicket off Johnson by guiding the young left-armer to third man, while Shah holed out at wide long-on off Bracken.

The miserly Clark saw Chris Schofield guide his penultimate delivery behind and flicked a firm drive from Stuart Broad on to the stumps at the non-striker's end to run out Dimitri Mascarenhas.

Bracken put the seal on a quite ruthlessly efficient performance from the Aussies by bowling Broad in the final over and the only humiliation on the cards at this point was an English one.

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