Symonds powers Australia to victory
Australia 199 for 3 (Symonds 71*, Martyn 60*) beat New Zealand 198 for 9 (McCullum 47, Kasprowicz 3-32) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Andrew Symonds powered Australia to a comprehensive seven-wicket win, and a place in the semi-finals, with a stunning unbeaten 71 from only 47 balls at The Oval. Symonds smashed seven fours and four sixes to guide Australia to victory with more than 12 overs to spare. Earlier, Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz picked up three wickets apiece as New Zealand managed a disappointing 198 for 9 after being put in.
After Matthew Hayden had been dismissed three runs short of his half-century, Symonds and Damien Martyn put together exactly 100 at over seven an over to take the game away from New Zealand. Symonds hit his second ball into the stands at midwicket, and continued in much the same vein.
As Martyn went to his fifty, Symonds spared no-one punishment. Daniel Vettori was mowed over square leg for six, and Chris Harris was carted for 17 runs in one over, which turned out to be his last. Symonds clipped Craig McMillan to fine leg to reach a half-century from only 40 balls, and then passed Martyn with a pull and a cut for two more fours in the same over. Another six, off Kyle Mills, levelled the scores, and a single to long-off took Australia to victory.
When Australia began their reply, it looked as if New Zealand were going to make a game of it, as Jacob Oram struck in his first over to give them some hope of defending their small total. After playing one glorious straight drive, Adam Gilchrist shouldered arms to one that moved back in and clipped off stump (4 for 1). But Hayden survived a testing opening spell from Mills, and was soon rattling along at close to a run a ball.
After giving Vettori a one-over spell, Stephen Fleming brought Scott Styris on, and the decision soon paid off. After sending down a series of deliveries that moved away, Styris nipped one back in to Ricky Ponting, who was bowled playing across the line (49 for 2). The wicket did nothing to temper Hayden, though, and he slapped two more fours in Styris's next over.
Harris came into the attack, and in concert with Vettori successfully slowed the run rate. Hayden became bogged down, and, attempting to hit Harris over long off, he skewed a catch to Chris Cairns at mid-on (99 for 3). But that was as good as it got for New Zealand, as Martyn and Symonds took control with imperious ease.
Earlier, Vettori and Brendon McCullum salvaged some pride for New Zealand with a record-breaking 68-run stand for the ninth wicket. Coming together with New Zealand in deep trouble at 124 for 8, they lifted the score to 198 for 9.
McGrath pegged New Zealand back with three quick wickets after Fleming and Nathan Astle had made a positive start on a sunny September morning. McGrath nipped out Astle and Hamish Marshall in the space of three balls to start a batting slide, from which New Zealand never fully recovered.
Astle's dismissal was a particularly harsh blow, as he had rushed to 18 in as many balls before he played across one that moved in to be trapped lbw (30 for 1). Marshall perished in much the same way, although the replays suggested that he was a little unlucky, as the ball would have gone just over the stumps (36 for 2).
McGrath was instantly transformed by his success, and after taking the wickets his next three overs went for only three runs. The pressure certainly told on Styris, and after playing out ten balls without managing a single run, he presented Michael Clarke with a simple catch in the gully (49 for 3). Things then went from bad to worse for New Zealand, as Fleming, who had been scoring freely, mistimed an attempted pull in Kasprowicz's first over, and Gillespie took an excellent diving catch at mid-on (49 for 4).
Oram mixed solid defence with some powerful attacking shots as he and McMillan attempted to resurrect the innings, but a resurgent Kasprowicz was on the rampage. First, Oram chipped back a simple return catch, and Cairns was undone by Kasprowicz's pace and movement - although again replays suggested that the ball would have missed the top of the stumps (79 for 6). Facing the hat-trick ball, Harris edged a sharp awayswinger just short and wide of a diving second slip.
Panic set in, and two overs later McMillan was run out after Harris first called for a run, then changed his mind as Symonds swooped in from the covers. With McMillan stranded mid-pitch, Symonds lobbed the ball to Kasprowicz, who calmly removed the bails (89 for 7).
With no scope to take risks, Harris and McCullum had to be content to wait for the bad ball, and there weren't many on offer. Symonds and Darren Lehmann were particularly frugal, and after 12 overs, the batsmen had added only 35. And just as New Zealand were starting to claw their way towards a respectable total, Lehmann struck to remove Harris, with the third umpire confirming his appeal for a low caught-and-bowled, and the innings was floundering at 124 for 8.
Then came McCullum and Vettori's face-saving partnership, which was New Zealand's highest for the ninth wicket against any opposition, beating the 63 of Richard Hadlee and Gary Troup against England at Brisbane in 1982-83. As it turned out, the eventual total was not nearly enough to test the strong Australian batting line-up, led by the furious batting of Symonds.