Records fall as Australia break the Namibian dream
What started out as a dream turned into a nightmare as the Australia's clinical opening bowler, Glenn McGrath, took seven for 15 to demolish the Namibian batting, bowling them out for 45 in 14 overs and ensuring a win by 256 runs on a good batting pitch at the North West Stadium in Potchefstroom.
McGrath wrote his name into the record books. It is the best return in all World Cups (previous: 7/51 WW Davis, West Indies v Australia at Leeds, 1983). It is the best bowling by an Australian in an one-day international (previous: 6/14 GJ Gilmour v England at Leeds, 1975), and he became the leading wicket-taker for Australia in all World Cups (previous: SK Warne 32 wickets). A truly remarkable and historic performance.
The 45 all out equals the second-lowest total in World Cup history, while the 256-run win becomes the biggest margin of victory in all one-day internationals, beating the 245-run win Sri Lanka had over India in Sharjah, 2000/01. England's 202-run win over India at Lord's in 1975 was the previous biggest victory margin in the World Cup.
Australia's win was also their 11th consecutive victory, equalling the record for most consecutive victories in one-day internationals, held by West Indies.
The pace of Brett Lee and the guile of McGrath were something that the World Cup debutantes would never before have encountered. Lee, bowling well into the 150 kph, was just a yard too fast and the movement and line from McGrath proved unplayable as wickets continued to fall.
A third-ball four off McGrath from Jan-Berry Burger got the Namibian innings off the ground, but the fourth found the edge of the shuffling Burger's bat to give Ponting a simple waist-high catch at second slip.
Brett Lee was quick, bowling well into the 150-kph zone, swinging the ball away, with Adam Gilchrist standing well back. Stephan Swanepoel found the pace too much for him, and an edge duly came in the third over, a flyer with Ricky Ponting taking a great catch way above his head at second slip.
Morne Karg did not last long, getting a lifter from McGrath that he gloved away for Adam Gilchrist to do the rest. Karg may have been unlucky, as it did not look as if his hand was on the bat when he gloved it.
Bryan Murgatroyd was trapped leg-before by McGrath without scoring, and Danie Keulder, on three, gave McGrath his fourth, again a regulation catch to Gilchrist off a faint edge. Deon Kotze was McGrath's fifth, also edging to Gilchrist.
McGrath's sixth wicket, and Australia's seventh, was another edge as Louis Kotze followed the procession. Bjorn Kotze had his bails dislodged as McGrath became only the second World Cup player to take seven wickets in an innings.
Andy Bichel replaced Lee and struck first over up, having Melt van Schoor caught by Gilchrist and wrapped it up also having Rudi van Vuuren caught behind. Six catches by Gilchrist gave him the most by a wicket-keeper in a World Cup match.
Namibia had been bowled out for 45 in 14 overs that took 75 minutes.
For 43 overs in the morning session Namibia had however done a sterling job. They bowled well, with the exception of van Vuuren, going for 92 in 10 overs, and fielded with more pride than many of the teams in the tournament. They chased down and brought off diving saves that not only helped the bowlers but added a little pressure on the Australians.
Matthew Hayden was again magnificent. He paced his innings well after Gilchrist had been bowled for 13, upping the rate the longer he stayed at the crease. Three big sixes and nine fours helped him to 88, his highest World Cup score, before he was bowled trying to work the ball across the line.
Michael Bevan, apart from one glorious cover drive, found it difficult to pierce the field and became the first wicket of Louis Burger, deceived by a slower ball to be caught and bowled for 17.
The hard-hitting Andrew Symonds was again impressive. Two fours and two sixes in an innings of 59, which would have been a lot more but for the excellent fielding and a ridiculous run-out that had him and Damien Martyn running for the same end. The 84-run partnership is a record for the fifth wicket on this ground.
Apart from this aberration, Martyn showed the Namibians what running between the wickets means. Almost unnoticeably he ran his way to 35 before he was bowled, setting the stage for Darren Lehmann.
Lehmann and Brad Hogg came together at the end of the 43rd over with Namibia having done extremely well to restrict Australia to 231/6, but a seven-over onslaught from Lehmann saw Australia finish on 301/6 with his 50 coming off 31 balls. The undefeated 70-run partnership is also a record for the ground. The last over had brought 28 runs to Lehmann, a record for a single over in a World Cup match and for Australia in all ODIs.
For Namibia, Louis Burger returned his best international figures of 3/39 while Gilchrist was Burton van Rooi's first international wicket.