ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

World Cup 2011

Where it all went wrong

Five ways Australia lost the World Cup

Brydon Coverdale

March 25, 2011

Comments: 32 | Text size: A | A

Cameron White's problems continued when he was bowled for 2, Australia v Kenya, World Cup 2011, Group A, Bangalore, March 13, 2011
Cameron White was a dead weight in Australia's middle order © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Jason Krejza | Cameron White
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Australia

Spin - bowling it and facing it
On the subcontinent, spin was always going to be a key factor. Australia did not select Nathan Hauritz due to a shoulder injury, nor Xavier Doherty due to a back problem, and the lack of a quality limited-overs slow bowler cost them. Jason Krejza can spin the ball sharply, but he doesn't have the variety of the best spinners in world cricket. He was easily milked for runs and managed only five wickets at 55.60 in his seven appearances. Steven Smith wasn't any better, and was dropped for the quarter-final. Equally, the Australian batsmen struggled to score freely against the impressive spinners from India, Pakistan and even Zimbabwe. They hardly used their feet and allowed the bowlers to dictate terms.

Not enough wickets from pace bowlers
There's a common road sign in India that reads "speed thrills but kills". It's a sentiment that could be applied to Australia's attack. Given that spin was Australia's weakness, their three-pronged pace group of Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson needed to rip through opposition line-ups. None of them bowled terribly, and each man shone at times. But Australia needed more than that; given their propensity to leak runs, the trio had to be completely dominant. The only teams they dismissed were Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Canada.

Misfiring middle order
Of course, the fast men didn't always have enough runs on the board to defend. Cameron White was the major culprit in the middle order. He was out of form right throughout the tournament - in fact, throughout Australia's home summer as well. He batted six times in the World Cup for scores of 22, 22 not out, 2, 4 not out, 8 and 12. Ricky Ponting's unwavering defence of White didn't help; dropping him for David Hussey might have improved their chances. Until the quarter-final, Ponting himself struggled for runs as well, and Michael Clarke was the middle-order man who impressed the most.

A platform, but nothing more
It might seem harsh to criticise Brad Haddin and Shane Watson, who were Australia's two leading run scorers in the tournament. But neither of them made a century, and in the matches that mattered, against Pakistan and India, their opening stands were worth 12 and 40. It wasn't enough. A big start goes a long way to setting up a winning total, and the only times they really achieved that were against the minnows Canada, and in a low-pressure chase against New Zealand.

Losing to Pakistan
Yes, losing to India was the knockout blow, but had Australia found a way to beat Pakistan they would not have ended up facing India in Ahmedabad in a knockout quarter-final. Instead, they would have played a much more winnable match against West Indies in Dhaka. And given that Pakistan had beaten Australia only once in their past 10 encounters leading in to the final group match, it was a costly slip for Ponting's men.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 32 
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Posted by vipin on (March 28, 2011, 6:51 GMT)

it good to see dat all top 6 ODI teams are equal to each other, no one can know which team is better...... Dominating is always bad for cricket..... because if a team dominate for a long period of time, and 99% u always know which team is going to win against a weaker team... from 2000-2007.. Australia was unbeatable... but now India, Australia, Srilanka, Pakistan, SouthAfrica are equal to each other... dats why we have such close matches in dis worldcup... best worldcup i have seen since I first saw 1992 WC

Posted by Jack on (March 28, 2011, 5:23 GMT)

Yeah.... it hard to say tht Aussies domination is over, but hope they will bounce back again and give their best again....

Posted by abdul sattar on (March 28, 2011, 5:09 GMT)

Yes Aussie domination is finally over, so atleast now we can hope that Asia can be world champion after a long gap

Posted by Cameron on (March 28, 2011, 0:10 GMT)

Yep, that's a pretty accurate description. No spin options, wayward fast bowlers, solid but uninspiring open batting and an out of form middle order. That was never going to take the trophy home.

Posted by Peter on (March 27, 2011, 21:26 GMT)

I agree with your points. I also think Haddin and Watson weren't turning the singles over enough. We seemed to be playing a bit too cautiously in general and with a lack of confidence.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 27, 2011, 15:17 GMT)

wht making australians so bad is lack of utilization of benchstrenghts... they always play with best so many batsman or bowler doesnt getting enough opportunity...

Mcgill also one who is victim of late opportunities... As contrast India,SL,even SA has been giving good exposure to their youngsters..

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 27, 2011, 11:01 GMT)

Excellent summary from mr coverdale the reasons of aus debacle couldnt be described more precisely than that

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 27, 2011, 7:06 GMT)

aussies need many more of these shocking exits from major tournaments which can only teach them how to put up a friendly fight!i mean that aussies are also pretty famous for on field quarell wid their counter parts.Its high time punter n his men recognise their loopholes.Anyways they r still one of the prime competitiors in world cricket.......GOOD LUCK OZ!!!!!!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 27, 2011, 5:13 GMT)

Nothing to say but a good analysis!

Posted by Latha on (March 27, 2011, 4:15 GMT)

well it had to end some day & d aussies never luked in their element. none of their pacers did well. & obviously d spinners r no warne. am happy dat finally there will b a new name on d world cup after 11 yrs.

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.

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