ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
World Cup 2011
Where it all went wrong
Five ways Australia lost the World Cup
March 25, 2011
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.
The Cricket Monthly: Jos Buttler is the product of a shift in emphasis in his country's cricket. And perhaps its first real success story
TCM May issue
Couch Talk: Sanjay Bangar, India's batting coach till recently, talks about how he approaches players with technical issues
Jonathan Wilson: When your shoulder is sore, you feel like death, and you play on - hoping to produce the devastating dipper you long for
Tony Cozier: CARICOM should maximise the support of the region's greatest players as the two parties push for overhauling the WICB's present structure
James Faulkner talks about the IPL, his slower balls, bouncing back from a drunk-driving episode, and bad haircuts
Plays of the day from the match between Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders
Also: the highest successful first-class fourth-innings chases, and the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in women's ODIs
Former Pakistan international Aaqib Javed talks about his growth as a fast bowler, the influence of Imran, and coaching UAE
Who could come in for the injured Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh and Kevin Pietersen? Here are some options for the beleaguered Pune franchise
A look at what lies behind the rise of the West Indian allrounder who just might be the world's hottest T20 property at the moment
Thirty years ago England were battered, bruised, broken and blackwashed in the Caribbean
For struggling Test teams to get better, they need to strengthen their domestic cricket and ensure their best players aren't lost to T20