Australia v New Zealand, ICC Champions Trophy, final, Centurion October 6, 2009

Australia find men for all seasons

The past couple of years haven't been easy for Australia but they have proved again that champion sides are rarely so by coincidence
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Once again, as they had for most of the tournament, Australia found a way. After their spirited run, New Zealand found their limitations exposed, but the final was yet another opportunity for Australia to show their real strength. Their undefeated record may point to utter dominance, but it wasn't always that way. The real story of the event was how Australia overcame every obstacle, and in doing so they proved themselves fitting champions of a tournament that finally proved worthy of its name.

In every contest apart from the one against England, whom they overwhelmed, there remained periods and moments when their opponents came within a blow or two of knocking them down. West Indies had them wobbling at the start of their innings and then on the ropes in the final phase on a juicy Wanderers pitch; the Indian bowlers had them on a leash in the initial overs in Centurion; Pakistan came within two wickets of packing them out of the tournament; and today Kyle Mills and Shane Bond bowled sensationally to create a top-order breach that could have been fatal. But on every occasion Australia fought their way out.

Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson shone brightest, but it wasn't them alone. It was the big men and the little men, the veterans and the rookies, the fast men and the slow man, and a stand-in wicketkeeper-batsman. Brett Lee came back to lead the attack; Peter Siddle provided aggression at the start; Mitchell Johnson, strong as ever, never let things slip, and turned a match with the bat; Nathan Hauritz provided the wickets when things could have drifted away, and crucial runs in a heart-stopping finish; Cameron White got the runs when they were needed most; Tim Paine sparkled behind the wicket and in front of it a couple of times; and when needed, Mike Hussey stabilised the middle order. In that, it was a typically Australian performance: they had battled as a team; in every crisis they found a man, or men, who were willing to stand up.

The past couple of years haven't been easy for them. They have had to get used to the idea of defeat, lost Test series at home and abroad, dropped down the world rankings, and been knocked out early from both the World Twenty20 tournaments. Many teams would have gone into freefall had they lost players of such quality as Australia did. Yet even through their struggles Australia never lost their competitive edge.

It would be premature to suggest that by pocketing the Champions Trophy they have regained their aura, but through this campaign they have proved once again that champion sides are rarely champions by coincidence.

It could be argued that the venues suited the strengths of two of the four semi-finalists. The bowler-friendly pitches at the Wanderers were to New Zealand's advantage, and Centurion proved a better venue for Pakistan in their crunch match against India.

Pace bowling being their strength, Australia would have found the Wanderers more suitable, but they adjusted beautifully to Centurion. And did anyone ever hear them moaning about the absence of Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Nathan Bracken? All three would certainly have made it into the playing XI.

The secret of their record in world championships is no secret at all. Since 1999, they have won every major one-day final they have featured in, and as Ponting pointed out, they have lost only one match in the last four majors: two World Cups and two Champions Trophies. In the finals, their opponents have not been merely beaten, they have been crushed. In 1999, Pakistan were bowled out for 132; in 2003, India were blasted for 359 runs; in 2006, West Indies were blown away for 138; and in 2007, Sri Lanka were taken for 281 in 38 overs in a rain-affected final. In all these games, the fate of the match was as good as sealed at the innings break.

That seemed the case today too, and it is to New Zealand's credit that they remained in the game in the middle stages of the Australian innings. But once again, the Australians had begun in top gear.

Pace bowling being their strength, Australia would have found the Wanderers more suitable, but they adjusted beautifully to Centurion. And did anyone ever hear them moaning about the absence of Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Nathan Bracken?

Lee, who has been bowling splendidly since his comeback in the one-day series in England, and Siddle, who has acquired more and more menace as the tournament progressed, were so switched on that the New Zealand openers found themselves fending at balls from the first over.

Brendon McCullum dismissed himself out of desperation, trying to snatch what he might have considered his first opportunity after being rendered scoreless for 13 balls. As it turned out, the ball from Siddle was not short or wide enough for the cut. New Zealand had lost their captain, and their most influential player, on the eve of the match, and the stand-in captain was gone 15 minutes into the game. From there on, it was a losing battle.

However manfully they fought, New Zealand were undone by bursts of brilliance from their opponents. Hussey pouched a super catch at point to send back the dangerous Ross Taylor, Lee produced two terrific yorkers to get rid of Martin Guptill and James Franklin, Ponting hit the stumps to run out Kyle Mills, Hauritz had the presence of mind to fire the ball in wide to defeat an advancing Aaron Redmond, and Lee returned to terrorise the tailenders with sharp bouncers.

In contrast, New Zealand's best chance came and went. At 41 for 2 in the 18th over, White, who had then scored 15 off 44 balls, top-edged a pull, and McCullum sprinted half-way to the fine-leg boundary, only to misjudge the ball at the final moment. By no means was it an easy catch, but on a day like this it was likely that an Australian fielder would have caught it.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CustomKid on October 9, 2009, 6:45 GMT

    Crankypet I like your Analysis unlike that of BrianChrales who seems to have little clue. You can only beat those you come up against and the Aussies were good enough to do that.

    IND, SA, SRI all played weaker sides and failed to make it through. That is why they aren't No.1 and Australia is.

    At the end of the day if you're upset that the Aussies won because they played weaker sides check the record books in 10 years time to see who won the final, and it will read AUS. No one will care how they got there - all that matters is the took the trophy.

  • crankypet on October 7, 2009, 19:56 GMT

    @BrianCharlesVivek Yeah, Australia got lucky by playing all the weaker teams......Eng, Pak, NZ.....the ones that all made the semi finals instead of your list of "top" teams. Brilliant analysis....not!

  • preeshcode on October 7, 2009, 18:22 GMT

    I have a theory...Australia won this trophy because they were the most match-practiced, full-strength team going into the tournament. Simple as that, I believe. 7 ODIs is a lot of match practice. Other teams just didnt have that opportunity and/or the full-strength. One more thing is that on the teams with least pressure have a leg up. Australia were under no pressure to prove that they are the No 1 team and just played to their merits.

  • BrianCharlesVivek on October 7, 2009, 14:19 GMT

    Hmm. Aus deserved to win not only due to their brilliance, but with a bit of luck as well. They hadnt faced two of the top 4 teams - SL , SA and of course India. They somehow managed to capitalize their advantage against the weaker teams like Pak,Eng and NZ. Their fade would have been certainly different against tha other teams.

  • riteshjsr on October 7, 2009, 6:14 GMT

    Well played Australia! Desreved winners of the Champions Trophy. What set Australia apart from other teams in this competition is that in each game, they found someone in the team who was willing to stand up. Johnson, Hussey, Lee, Hauritz, Watson, and of course Ponting, came good when the team needed most. No doubt, SA had a better and more balanced team on paper, but their bowling looked rusty and eventually that is what brought about their downfall. The other team that I would like to laud is NZ. They showed a lot of character and determination. If Vettori had played the final, would the result have been any different? One can only guess...

  • MelbourneGlory on October 6, 2009, 20:14 GMT

    What distinguishes Australia from the other cricket nations is their ability to play as a unit. This is partly due to the real honor they place on representing their country.

    But it is also achieved through the rituals and mysticism surrounding the Australian team which is unlike any other team. The Test captaincy is held in such high esteem and importance it's as if you have witnessed the coronation of a King. And their captains captain for long periods: Border, Taylor, Waugh, Ponting - 4 captains in 25 years. It's like a Chinese dynasty. There is the honor and ritual in receiving the baggy green cap. There is even honor bestowed on a player to lead the team in singing their team song Under The Southern Cross I Stand. This honor is respected and passed down with honor. Rod Marsh, Alan Border, David Boon, Ian Healy, Ponting, Langer and now Hussey have held this role. It is treated with reverential consideration and respect. You can't create this overnight. It is cultured.

  • SibaMohanty on October 6, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    Great one, Mr Bal. While reading this, one thing came to my mind. Men will be men (like Aussies) and boys will always be boys (like Team India). Never did Ricky complain about losing three key players like Clarke, Haddin and Bracken. MS Dhoni and his boys missed no opportunity to crib about Viru and Yuvraj. I hope they look at the Black Caps and learn a few things...

  • proteasfan99 on October 6, 2009, 17:59 GMT

    it was great tu see....Lee n siddle, then mills n bond produce one of the most fatal opening overs bowling we will see in one day international cricket...Australia played thru that tough period and to be honest thats what made the difference... i think Lee is bec n bec tu stae....test call up 4 him soon...he brings sumthing Ben.H cant...Tim Paine looks good, could actually play as a batsman even wen Haddin is thurr to keep wen the Pontings leav or others drop owt of form....i am a proteas fan but i was happy with the wae aussies conducted themselves....Watson n White showed the rest of the cricketing world how to play against quality bowling....McCullum did little to inspire his team, captained from the bec...he needs to improve as a leader...

  • anilkp on October 6, 2009, 16:20 GMT

    Both, this article and the one by Osman Samiuddin, have done well in putting together the salient features of this tournament: and thus any argument that it was flawed is itself flawed. But, there is a lack of emphasis on NZ's fight in the final. Seldom can one remember when the final of a world event in cricket was so absorbing, where one-sidedness has usually been the trend. And, that to, with so many losses that NZ withstood. I consider NZ no less winner than the AUS here. It is common to be biased or prejudiced in our comments as followers of the game, but let the better sense prevail: there is no point in arguing that AUS did not deserve the trophy; that they won it is the best evidence that they deserved it. One cannot whine about theoretical might of SA or IND or anyone else; only achievements matter. And, Chokkashokka, AUS played against a full-strength IND in ODI series in India last time, and you know what happened. Optimism is good; but no need to vaunt.

  • sanjeevmukherjee2006 on October 6, 2009, 14:43 GMT

    @vat69 what do you mean by isolated wins by india, are you in your senses, india has won agaiinst england, australia at perth and odi series, three series against sl ,test and odi wins against NZ, they have won in their own countries agree fielding and bowling was below par but india will rise...aus won because they are the best team in the word and well what was shahid afridi doing he has aspirations for pakistan captaincy and being senior player he should not have played that shot against new zealand..once again question will be raised agains him

  • CustomKid on October 9, 2009, 6:45 GMT

    Crankypet I like your Analysis unlike that of BrianChrales who seems to have little clue. You can only beat those you come up against and the Aussies were good enough to do that.

    IND, SA, SRI all played weaker sides and failed to make it through. That is why they aren't No.1 and Australia is.

    At the end of the day if you're upset that the Aussies won because they played weaker sides check the record books in 10 years time to see who won the final, and it will read AUS. No one will care how they got there - all that matters is the took the trophy.

  • crankypet on October 7, 2009, 19:56 GMT

    @BrianCharlesVivek Yeah, Australia got lucky by playing all the weaker teams......Eng, Pak, NZ.....the ones that all made the semi finals instead of your list of "top" teams. Brilliant analysis....not!

  • preeshcode on October 7, 2009, 18:22 GMT

    I have a theory...Australia won this trophy because they were the most match-practiced, full-strength team going into the tournament. Simple as that, I believe. 7 ODIs is a lot of match practice. Other teams just didnt have that opportunity and/or the full-strength. One more thing is that on the teams with least pressure have a leg up. Australia were under no pressure to prove that they are the No 1 team and just played to their merits.

  • BrianCharlesVivek on October 7, 2009, 14:19 GMT

    Hmm. Aus deserved to win not only due to their brilliance, but with a bit of luck as well. They hadnt faced two of the top 4 teams - SL , SA and of course India. They somehow managed to capitalize their advantage against the weaker teams like Pak,Eng and NZ. Their fade would have been certainly different against tha other teams.

  • riteshjsr on October 7, 2009, 6:14 GMT

    Well played Australia! Desreved winners of the Champions Trophy. What set Australia apart from other teams in this competition is that in each game, they found someone in the team who was willing to stand up. Johnson, Hussey, Lee, Hauritz, Watson, and of course Ponting, came good when the team needed most. No doubt, SA had a better and more balanced team on paper, but their bowling looked rusty and eventually that is what brought about their downfall. The other team that I would like to laud is NZ. They showed a lot of character and determination. If Vettori had played the final, would the result have been any different? One can only guess...

  • MelbourneGlory on October 6, 2009, 20:14 GMT

    What distinguishes Australia from the other cricket nations is their ability to play as a unit. This is partly due to the real honor they place on representing their country.

    But it is also achieved through the rituals and mysticism surrounding the Australian team which is unlike any other team. The Test captaincy is held in such high esteem and importance it's as if you have witnessed the coronation of a King. And their captains captain for long periods: Border, Taylor, Waugh, Ponting - 4 captains in 25 years. It's like a Chinese dynasty. There is the honor and ritual in receiving the baggy green cap. There is even honor bestowed on a player to lead the team in singing their team song Under The Southern Cross I Stand. This honor is respected and passed down with honor. Rod Marsh, Alan Border, David Boon, Ian Healy, Ponting, Langer and now Hussey have held this role. It is treated with reverential consideration and respect. You can't create this overnight. It is cultured.

  • SibaMohanty on October 6, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    Great one, Mr Bal. While reading this, one thing came to my mind. Men will be men (like Aussies) and boys will always be boys (like Team India). Never did Ricky complain about losing three key players like Clarke, Haddin and Bracken. MS Dhoni and his boys missed no opportunity to crib about Viru and Yuvraj. I hope they look at the Black Caps and learn a few things...

  • proteasfan99 on October 6, 2009, 17:59 GMT

    it was great tu see....Lee n siddle, then mills n bond produce one of the most fatal opening overs bowling we will see in one day international cricket...Australia played thru that tough period and to be honest thats what made the difference... i think Lee is bec n bec tu stae....test call up 4 him soon...he brings sumthing Ben.H cant...Tim Paine looks good, could actually play as a batsman even wen Haddin is thurr to keep wen the Pontings leav or others drop owt of form....i am a proteas fan but i was happy with the wae aussies conducted themselves....Watson n White showed the rest of the cricketing world how to play against quality bowling....McCullum did little to inspire his team, captained from the bec...he needs to improve as a leader...

  • anilkp on October 6, 2009, 16:20 GMT

    Both, this article and the one by Osman Samiuddin, have done well in putting together the salient features of this tournament: and thus any argument that it was flawed is itself flawed. But, there is a lack of emphasis on NZ's fight in the final. Seldom can one remember when the final of a world event in cricket was so absorbing, where one-sidedness has usually been the trend. And, that to, with so many losses that NZ withstood. I consider NZ no less winner than the AUS here. It is common to be biased or prejudiced in our comments as followers of the game, but let the better sense prevail: there is no point in arguing that AUS did not deserve the trophy; that they won it is the best evidence that they deserved it. One cannot whine about theoretical might of SA or IND or anyone else; only achievements matter. And, Chokkashokka, AUS played against a full-strength IND in ODI series in India last time, and you know what happened. Optimism is good; but no need to vaunt.

  • sanjeevmukherjee2006 on October 6, 2009, 14:43 GMT

    @vat69 what do you mean by isolated wins by india, are you in your senses, india has won agaiinst england, australia at perth and odi series, three series against sl ,test and odi wins against NZ, they have won in their own countries agree fielding and bowling was below par but india will rise...aus won because they are the best team in the word and well what was shahid afridi doing he has aspirations for pakistan captaincy and being senior player he should not have played that shot against new zealand..once again question will be raised agains him

  • getgopi on October 6, 2009, 14:39 GMT

    If India had won this tournament, I might have felt pride. But I doubt if I would have felt the unadulterated admiration that I feel now for the Aussies. I am already thinking ahead as to how I could draw from the Aussies' attitude and applying that to my career, which involves working under high pressure situations. Australia's performance in this series is a stark reminder that merely having talent isn't enough to win matches. You need a form of raw mental toughness to perform the way the Aussies did.

  • sanjeevmukherjee2006 on October 6, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    well Australia were not at it's full strength nor was NZ but in the end, australia won, they are a great team, they missed lee in the ashes if he had played, things might have been different...aussie rock..coming back to few comments made about India, well indian bowling is below par but if they had zaheer, sehwag or yuvraj they might have reached semis just may be..all in all best team won the tournament.. but the most puzzling form of comment I heard was from younis khan. how can he say that "to protect my finger I dropped the catch" country should come first..he should not have played or he should have fielded at third man or fine leg..if he had taken the catch pakistan team might have reached the final that was the turning point not only for the match but for the tournament as well

  • popcorn on October 6, 2009, 14:07 GMT

    At least now, will all you croakers who gloated that Australia were on the decline after the retirements of the Legends (one Legend remains - Ricky Ponting),acknowledge that Australia are Head and Shoulders - THE BEST ODI Country EVER to have played the game? Australia won the Champions Trophy with a second string side! Without Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Nathan Bracken! The GAP between thge BEST (australia) and the second best is only increasing.It was wonderful to watch The Aussies in all the matches! Go Aussies Go!

  • S.Rizwan on October 6, 2009, 14:06 GMT

    Australia have been going through a tough period from 1-2 years but the way they played today,they are back as unbeatable champions.I have heard a lot of people saying that Australia's rule in cricket is over and they will expect new champions in world tournaments but for now surely they have got an answer. A team without the champions Adam Gilchrist,Mathew Hayden,McGrath who have retired now,a team which has lost players like Haddin,Clarke and Bracken due to injuries still wnt on to win the game.Its truly amazing.It was very to sad to see Ponting lifting Trophy without his old pals.Many Australian fans would wish that they never retire

  • vigneshenoy on October 6, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    Australia where deserved winners,they have proved time n again that discipline n responsibility brings the best out of a team, i am an Indian but still love the way aussies cricket since 1999,they don do anything supernatural,all they do is stick to the basics,understand the game n play their best,aussie cricketers are perfect examples for rewards of hardwork,Apart from Sir Don,all great aussie cricketers were ordinary when they started,but these guys became legends, just because they performed their role in the team with 100% commitment and consistency. last but not the least hats off to New Zealand,who came so far defying all odds!!

  • rbhattarai on October 6, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Australian in my ranking is the number one team be it 20-20 or 50 overs match. It is their ability to play well at the crucial game as well as at a crucial time that separates them from other teams esp India and SA. They are the champions trophy winners and i dont see any team beating them in major tournaments. I am an Indian fan and i want to see India win the world cup with Sachin but realistically i cannot think of Australia not winning the next world cup. Also, this was the best champions trophy so far and this concept of allowing just 8 top teams to play is also very interesting. Well done ICC. May be this format should be there for the world cup also.

  • Vansan on October 6, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    Hello Rohan, Dont conclude that Sri Lanka has better cricketers than mighty Aussies. If you prepare slow dust tracks to hand on advantage to home team, you would find it difficult winning away from sub continent. SL and India face same troubles. You may have champions in your team but that cannot make champion teams. You could clearly see Malinga struggling in Green Johanesburg track. As long as subcontinent teams prepare some neutral tracks, other than Pakistan, the rest two teams are surely gonna struggle in any surfaces with green top. I wish to see all the so called top hitters to go and show their colours in green top basin reserve in Wellington, NZ or Brisbane, AUS. I hope india never forgot their test series against NZ in 2002/2003. SO will be any subcontinent team.

  • Avid.Cricket.Watcher on October 6, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    Well done Australia...great team effort in the finals, and Watson showing great class (once again in a CT final). Kudos to the fighting Kiwis too...tremendous achievement to push Australia despite facing massive setbacks. Really loved Mill's, Bond's and Lee's opening spells (Siddle was terrific too)...and great to see a pitch that offers something for the bowlers! Looking forward to the 7 match shootout between Ind & Aus now. (some of us still like to see ODIs on the cricket calendar!)

  • RohanMarkJay on October 6, 2009, 11:43 GMT

    Congratulations Australia on your sporting achievement! Personally I would have like to see my team Sri Lanka win the tournament. However Sri Lanka can learn from Australia's high standards of professionalism and what it takes to be successful in this great game at the highest level. Sri Lanka has more talented cricketers than Australia yet they don't seem to play to their potential when it really matters especially away from Sri Lanka. That said given Sri Lanka's immense talent if they played with the kind of commitment and professionalism that Australia do Sri Lanka would be far more successful. For the last 100 years Australia has always led the way on how to play this sport. It is good to know with this tournament victory in a world of media hype that hasn't changed.

  • PrinzPaulEugen on October 6, 2009, 11:36 GMT

    Ah chokkashokka - I assume you made your comment with one of two motives - 1 - to annoy Australians, or 2 - and more likely - You're annoyed that India were rubbish. Having said that, I am concerned that India's woeful performance could indeed be the death of the superior form of limited overs cricket. India has no interest in 20-20 before they won a tournament in South Africa a few years ago. Now it's the be all and end all. Now India have failed in a tournament in South Africa. Why should we not think obverse possible?

  • coeurlion on October 6, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    Well done Sambit, you took the words out of my mouth about our Aussie team. Great article. But I tip my hat to the Black Caps... worthy adversaries in which the CT has been a cruel tournament for them. I tuned into the cricinfo coverage... the first thing I'm greeted with is Dan Vettori, NZ captain and #1 player is out of the final. My heart sank. I was almost in tears thinking, 'These guys can't take a trick'. The cruelest blow was saved to last. In the end, he was the 'oomph' NZ needed in this game; his batting... to shore up the lower-middle order, his bowling... to continue the fine work of Mills & Bond (no romance novels here, but damn good bowling ;)), his captaincy and on-field presence. @chokkashokka, read the comments of others and my last comment on Sambit's article on the Aus v Eng game. Flawed? In this tournament, every game MATTERED to at least one or more teams fortune. Take a leaf out of Australia's book (better yet NZ's book). Until then, frail posturing is just that...

  • kal07 on October 6, 2009, 10:30 GMT

    You can always count on Aussies to fight back and take back whats rightly theirs, tag of the Champion Team! Let me clarify, I'm a Team India fan but I always appreciate good cricket and Aussies usually deliver that. Though quite a few people below said Haddin was a miss, I say Paine was more hungry and a better keeper. Bracken's slot was taken well by Siddle. The only miss was probably Clarke BUT don't over-appreciate the team by saying they were under strength. If there was one team in the tournament that really pulled above their weight and was hampered by the injuries was NZ. Hats off to NZ! Frankly speaking India-Aus ODI series won't matter that much to anyone sensible{including me}. Aus are true champions...Now looking forward to India's future, I found the most important missing link that hurt India real bad in T20 and CT campaign: Sehwag! We need Sehwag, when the chips are down he is the real match winner...2003 WC final anyone, he performs against quality attacks...195 MCG!

  • fanofteamindia on October 6, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    Once again australia have won.But not as convincingly as they wud have done in the past.All the teams teams they played aginst except england were in the match including west indies.But they have won and my congratulations to them.Waiting for the 7 match series.

  • Morgsy on October 6, 2009, 8:40 GMT

    Well played Aus - you deserved the win. Oh well, at least we still have the Bledisloe!

  • valvolux on October 6, 2009, 8:34 GMT

    It is an incredible run from the aussies in one dayers - unlike the 20/20 format, ODIs will see the best team win on most occassions - which is how it should be. We shouldn't be turning cricket into a pot luck sort of game like soccer, even though it gives ordinary teams like India a chance of lifting world trophies - the format should be such that the best team in the world wins. Great tournament, probably should've been an Aussie vs Pak final as they were by far the 2 best teams, but well done to NZ. To the guy who said we should go to india...we won this thing in india last time...you guys lost to pakistan and were on your way to getting spaned by australia - give it up, you guys will never win a major trophy again...not even in the kiddy game of 20/20 now teams know how to play it!

  • sirch on October 6, 2009, 8:13 GMT

    chokkashokka, I don't see how you (or anyone) can be complaining about Australia supposedly not deserving to win this tournament. Lest you forget, both India and Pakistan were in the same group as Australia and the "third-string" West Indies side, the difference is, Australia had the confidence and mental capacity to win the big moments, whereas India and Pakistan did not. Congratulations Australia, it's been a long, long tour and they have finally got something out of it. Unfortunately the tour of India is going to be somewhat meaningless, Australia will probably rest most of their big name players. Watch out world though because Australia is coming back, big time!

  • Sanj747 on October 6, 2009, 8:05 GMT

    Not sure what point chokkashokka is trying to make. So who is the team that should have won the tournament. India would be the answer. Well don't you get it they didn't. You are a loser. A big one like the Indian team. People like you can't acknowledge a good performance. I guess you like the Indian team live in dreamland. Aa we would say in Australia, the Indian team couldn't win a chook raffle even if they bought all the tickets.

  • rext on October 6, 2009, 7:47 GMT

    A Champion team will always beat a team of Champions! That's why Australia keep winning, they actually understand what being a member of a team means. Even undermanned with three first choice players out as against New Zealand's one, it made no difference. There are no prima donnas or individualistic little Gods in this team as such liabilities won't be tolerated. Just hard working, mentally strong, committed Team Members. It's better to study and learn from the best and improve, than to childishly bag the best as many do, and constantly underachieve. Petulant comments won't change the facts. Many Indian supporters wishfully think their team is the best, as if merely thinking it means it is and should be so. Not in the real World it doesn't!

  • billybob67 on October 6, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    Hey chokkashokka, maybe you should read what I wrote earlier.

  • cnkodda on October 6, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    bravo Australia...you guys deserved this trophy...outplayed all the teams and it was almost an unbeaten effort(i don't think India could have beaten Australia at that point)...i think all the other teams have a good lesson to learn from you guys about how to go about in a world tournament,specially the sub-continent teams...once again Australia have shown the world why they are a champion side....

  • ebbie-qld on October 6, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    Good to see Chokkashokka (again) stirring the pot and trying to get a rise out of the Aussies. Face it Chokka, Australia won all their completed matches and India didn't. I'm still amazed how well this Aussie team has done after the loss of so many talented players in the last few years. Lots of Indian supporters say how good their team is but their ICC rankings are worse than an Yo-Yo (up and down). Contragulations Ricky and all the Aussie team, you have made us all very proud AUSTRALIANS.

  • CustomKid on October 6, 2009, 6:16 GMT

    LOL @ chokkashokka - they can only beat the teams that are put in front of them my friend! Which they were well on their way to doing against your side who continues to fail when the silver wear is on the line. We staggered across the line, you're mighty team were belted by your co nuclear neighbour in Pakistan who you despise so much. What does that say about your all conquering team?

    If I had a choice of being the No.1 ICC ranked team or cupboard full of trophies eg World Cup, ICC, and various test victories over the last 15 years I know what I'd take. Oh you won the all important T20 WC lol.

    It's tournaments like the up coming 7 match series in India that ruin the format. Its pointless and the very reason Australia will sent a rookie side. If winning pointless tournaments like the next one floats your boat then time to get excited big guy. Consistency is KING something your team has never had, time to get over your teams inadequacies, we're consistently better so move along.

  • JB77 on October 6, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    As an Australian fan, I'm never 100% confident of a win when we come up against New Zealand. They always lisft when facing Aus. NZ do excellent work with their limited player pool, Vettori is a class act (brilliant captain) and I've seen Bond rip through our sides enough to know he is a gifted (and sadly injury-prone) cricketer. Players like Oram and Taylor anre excellent on their day as well. I'm obviously glad Aus won, but it was great to see NZ do so well. NZ cricket should be celebrated and not written about in patronising tones as many cricket writers do.

  • orlurmsana on October 6, 2009, 5:27 GMT

    Australian team is a champion team. The reason they win every tournment that comes their way is because they have their 'basics' correct. They know exactly when to run a single, two or three and of course how to prevent the opposition from doing the same. They run out ppl exactly when it matters, not when the batsmen are already in. And then their fielding which is a main contributor to their success. On the other hand teams liks India will never reach the pinnacle bcoz they lack combined effort and they will fail more often then not on occasions when india really needs to win. Australians play for their country unlike the rest.

  • Saim93 on October 6, 2009, 5:21 GMT

    Good thing Australia won, this should prove ricky is a good captain and capable of leading a young as well as a dominant side, i personally would love to see him beat england in england in 2013.

  • chokkashokka on October 6, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    Can we stop talking about this flawed tournament? Puh-lease...let the kangaroos come to India and we'll see how good they are against a full strength Indian team....this tournament and its format are flawed. They need to beat sides fair and square - like what they did to England and Pakistan. Given this side beat a third string rag tag west indies side (almost made a meal of that if it wasn't for johnson), beat Pakistan off the last ball chasing a below par total, and beat England (a side they had blanked 2 weeks ago) is hardly convincing to lift a global trophy. Just goes to highlight the flaws of this tournament. Next please .....

  • snarge on October 6, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    What are you talking about? Pakistan taking two wickets would not have knocked Australia out of the tournament, as at the same time India were well on the way to not getting their net run-rate above Australia's. Even if they had, it would have been a farce given that they were saved by rain against Australia. And losing in the semi-finals of a tournament is not getting knocked out in the early stages.

  • billybob67 on October 6, 2009, 4:26 GMT

    Good article, best team won. Well played NZ, showed although they don't have the fire power of the other teams they have plenty of good old guts and determination. Australia is a class act and as pointed out, the recent test series losses have been very close run things. The funniest thing is a full strength SA team couldn't even make the semi's. If they played last years test series in Australia now they would not win. They Australian team has regained a lot of confidence. I think they will send an under strength team to India this month so I would worry what happens in that series if they loose, although India will carry on about how good they are even though the are second only to SA in the ICC chokers rankings.

  • TwitterJitter on October 6, 2009, 4:23 GMT

    @vat69 - You are amazing man! You people never stop to amaze me. You managed to turn an article about Australian team into discussion about bashing Indian team and its fans. Indian fans may sometimes be over the top but theor passion is what fuels the modern game and the Indian media may sometime be over the top but their passionate coverage is what keeps cricket in the news and keeps the buzz and broadcasters like ESPN bidding for these trophies from ICC. You are not the first Indian who is ashamed of his team and you won't be the last.

  • Hapster on October 6, 2009, 4:15 GMT

    Lovely article praising our team. Australia seems to stay calmer than other teams at key moments in finals and there's obviously a level of confidence and a culture of winning that has enabled 'newer' players to blossom on the world stage. Of course, Ricky is our second greatest batsman, one of our fiercest-ever competitors and has a strong sense of loyalty to his well-performed team-mates. All of which enables his leadership to be crucial, despite some tactical limitations. Peter H

  • JGuru on October 6, 2009, 4:10 GMT

    Congrats Australia. Once again this champion side proved that they take pride in playing the big moments extremely well. The Aussie side which won 2006 trophy had super stars in them, blokes who can dismantle any opposition single handedly. This 2009 Side is a building one. Other than Ponting and Lee they do not have players who have seen what a big stage is all about. But that does not stop them from achieving what Aussie as a team always used to. Other teams has no heart to accept that Aussie is a champion side. They think they are world beaters in no time. It is a lesson for every other cricketing team in the world. Glory cannot be achieved in a day. It is a sustained process of right planning and impeccable execution. The so-called world beaters can only sit back and watch this champion side does every time when they set themselves up for ICC events. At least now the world media should acknowledge that Aussie is a cricketing super power and the rankings can never rattle them.

  • mahmood_chowdhury on October 6, 2009, 4:07 GMT

    I am not sure why everybody is after "Aura". Yet another way out for Ausssies. Let us wait and see how Australia shape themselves up with this auraless team to an auraful team. Its The Great Ponting showing all the way with his personal example, leadership, guiding the youngters and what not.

  • sammykent on October 6, 2009, 3:44 GMT

    All this talk about missing players by dyogesh is total rubbish. Paine is a better keeper than Haddin and scored in a similar fashion with the bat. He took catches Haddin would have missed. Bracken can hold up an end but is not the bowler of a year ago and Siddle was a better inclusion anyway. Clarke is great but he scores slowly in ODI's so he is not really missed when you have: Hussey, Hopes, Johnson, Lee, Hauritz and White in the squad (all can score quickly). In contrast New Zealand lost Oram, Ryder, Tuffey, Vettori and almost Elliott. That is a huge chunk out of their batting that they can not fill as easily as Australia. Ponting and Paine both fell early but Australia has a team full of competent batsmen so it did not matter. Taylor, McCullum and Elliott failed to score and without those three Guptill, Broom and Franklin had too much to do.

  • boris6491 on October 6, 2009, 3:40 GMT

    Once again, the Aussies have proven that they are honestly the only side, regardless of their composition who have the ability and mindset to step up and succeed on the big stage. This is why as much as they are criticised and the likes of South Africa and India are officially better sides (and have proven so by defeating the Australians on a number of occasions), neither can be considered the best as they lack the penchant to perform on the big stage, which is where any judgement is based upon. Thats not to say Australia have proven themselves to be the No. 1 side, but it is a credible achievement for a side that wasn't expected to do much, particularly missing some key players. Credit to Australia and to a certain man who has been under an excess of unwarranted pressure but has risen above the rest showing why he is still one of the foremost players of the game. I hope Australia can continue these winning ways, these are exciting times for them.Congratulations to the Aussies

  • Marcio on October 6, 2009, 3:39 GMT

    Good teams don't make excuses. In the recent ashes series, Aust had some really rotten luck. They lost 4 of the 5 tosses. Numerous umpiring decisions went against them at crucial times. @ key moments, conditions seemingly conspired against them e.g. in the 5th test the 2nd day wicket was a minefield, after heavy humidity & rain affected an already "doctored' pitch. 15 wickets fell, & unfortunately, Australia was starting their innings that day. Next day conditions improved, & the pitch became slow, but playable. It looked as if the Gods had decided on an English win (the curator has been awarded a place in heaven). But, as in all losses, Aust played badly at times, & selectors erred. Eng played well when it mattered. The result is history. Here's my point. At no point in the series did Aust players or managers blame anyone but themselves. Compare that to some other recent series where other teams screamed victim when things didn't go their way. I'm not surprised Oz bounced back.

  • fann on October 6, 2009, 3:35 GMT

    nobody likes to give credit to australia. but they desrve it for their 'toughening out' attitude.

  • mysay on October 6, 2009, 3:30 GMT

    I think it's a shame for NZ to play in any final with a team that is below par. And when Vettori is out of the team the writing was on the wall before the toss. I also fail to understand what players like Scott Styris & Jacob Oram were doing in the dressing room and not on the field. If NZ is keen to keep constant failures like the once great Brendan Mccullum on, how worse could they fail with hard hitters in the likes of Styris & Oram. The performance was appalling because it was the final. Australia could call themselves lucky, because they played a below par NZ in the final. What hurts the most is that teams such as SA, IND, SL & Pakistan did not make it and these are the only guys who could give Australia a fight or even a taste of losing a final. A great tournament brought to shame by a hapless NZ team.

  • A_HTIMAN on October 6, 2009, 3:30 GMT

    If you put the full XI(Haddin, Bracken, Clarke) it would be the best team any captain could have asked. They have 9 batsman who has scored 50's and remaining 2 capable of getting into 20's. 5 pace bowling options. 3 spinners. quality keeper. It is the best method to have a team to go after the great loss of veteran. Clearly they are heading towards 2011 WC. All rounders it what most teams lack including Ind, Pak, SL, SA

  • dil333 on October 6, 2009, 3:26 GMT

    Still, real test is Test matches.

    They've been dropping down.

    Although this Champions Trophy was short and good, still enjoy the World Cup more, since each team gets to play each other once, at least the good teams do. Like here, interesting matches would have been SA v Aus, or SA v IND, or SL v Aus etc, which would have happened in the world cup, but not here. But that's okay, since this is a short tournament.

    Hope the world cup stays long though.

  • sumit_fan on October 6, 2009, 3:05 GMT

    Winning is not an act it's a habit. Who else can exhibit it better than the Aussies. Australia is not team I would not always like to support but that's the team which commands respect and the exaltation. Their emphatic victories in all the major finals tell the story. Even without potential match winners like Haddin, Clarke or Bracken they look so formidable and destructive. The game against England was just an illustration of the profundity in skill and hunger for success in that part of the world. Whenever you are "forced" to think that the Aussies will faze out, there comes a warrior, who is geared up to face the music and turn the tides. Shane Watson has shown yet again why he is one of the most dangerous players in world cricket. I guess the dictionaries used in Australia don't have the word losing anymore. Its their mental toughness that makes them the Superpower in Cricket that they are. Good job Kiwis but better luck next time. Aussie Aussie Aussie go go go!!!!

  • OldAussie on October 6, 2009, 2:59 GMT

    Well said, CustomKid. For me the last two wins - in the Tests in South Africa and now here, have been very satisfying as an Aussie supporter. They closely followed losses when many wanted and willed us to finally be in free fall. I remember this attitude here when we were beaten by SAf in Australia, and I stuck up for our depth of talent that few knew about. Sure enough we came through with Siddle, Johnson and Hughes. Many had to eat their words. We've lost two Ashes series, sure, but only by two runs and one stirring rearguard action. Not much has been said about the Oval's crazy, unaccountably dry pitch, deliberately prepared for one reason alone - to ensure there was no draw possible to 'save' Australia. English gamesmanship was also evident in the drawn Test, though they earned it.. We can be proud of our selectors too; with a big job to do in recent years, they rarely falter, unlike too many other countries..

  • Number1CricketFan on October 6, 2009, 2:56 GMT

    Congrats Australia, you thoroughly deserved the win! A good solid team with good players in key positions

  • 68704 on October 6, 2009, 2:44 GMT

    Nice piece, Australia are a "no excuses" team and their victory just proves that.There certainly is no aura about this team ,but I remember what David Lloyd kept saying that this team is a "workmanlike team". It has demonstrated now that it is better than that.I have been following cricket for over three decades now and I believe this Australian team is a bit like the Australian team of 1987 that won the world cup in India. That was an unheralded team starting from zeronwhile this team started at the top , had people retiring,, leaving with problems like Symonds, tormented by injuries, lost the Ashes and yet refused to disintegrate.The key really is Ponting, the leader and batsman guiding the youngsters{Watson against England}and taking body blows to his reputation and yet refusing to throw in the towel. I prefer this team to the earlier one, despite having none of the aura, as it seems more human, less arrogant and perhaps it may end up being less hated. Well done Australia sridhar

  • Sanj747 on October 6, 2009, 2:25 GMT

    Awesome piece again Sambit. Always a pleasure to read. Great stuff.

  • vat69 on October 6, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    Yes the Australians once again shown what is the difference between a champion side and other teams who glorify themselves as if one swallow makes the summer. I mean team like India. Whenever the Aussies lose even narrowly like the last Ashes or for that matter the One day series against India in Australia, immediately the press even certain regional languages press write as if the Aussies have been thrashed. it is nothing but lack of heart to accept that Aussies are a super side. My congrats to Team Australia. Let hem show more such exhibition of commitment and the will to achieve and should open the eyes of fanatic Indian cricket fans not to dance for isolated wins of their Indian team.

  • NIDOG on October 6, 2009, 2:14 GMT

    Well said.

  • dyogesh on October 6, 2009, 2:09 GMT

    I can't think of another team that could have lost their in-form batsman, their best ODI bowler and first choice keeper and still won an almost knock-out tournament. The closest team i can think of are the runners-up. Every match threw a new injury but they managed to scrap along until Dan broke. SA struggled with their best team. India without three first-choice players were average. SL stuttered with only Murali missing. England deserve some aadmiration for their performance without KP & Freddie but went off boil once their semis place were secure. Pakistan was Pakistan. They seem to play better as underdogs.

  • CustomKid on October 6, 2009, 1:57 GMT

    Sambit you are very correct. The good teams find ways of winning in all conditions and under any circumstance. I think it all started back in 89 under the guidance of Allan Border and has developed from there. From 1993 onwards they have over come every obstacle placed in front of them winning on every continent. Yes they had some of the greatest players in history but just remember most of these guys, Warne, McGrath, Waugh, Martin, Hayden, Langer, Ponting, and co were all test and one day discards at some stage in their careers. It just goes to show what hard work, pride, and a fierce competitive will to win can bring. On some occasions they may have over stepped the line but they hate losing, is that a crime? That is why they are No 1. For me this is a very exciting phase in Australian Cricket especially the test arena. We may not win everything but rest assured I know they are going to leave everything on the field. I just hope they get the win at all costs attitude back on board.

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  • CustomKid on October 6, 2009, 1:57 GMT

    Sambit you are very correct. The good teams find ways of winning in all conditions and under any circumstance. I think it all started back in 89 under the guidance of Allan Border and has developed from there. From 1993 onwards they have over come every obstacle placed in front of them winning on every continent. Yes they had some of the greatest players in history but just remember most of these guys, Warne, McGrath, Waugh, Martin, Hayden, Langer, Ponting, and co were all test and one day discards at some stage in their careers. It just goes to show what hard work, pride, and a fierce competitive will to win can bring. On some occasions they may have over stepped the line but they hate losing, is that a crime? That is why they are No 1. For me this is a very exciting phase in Australian Cricket especially the test arena. We may not win everything but rest assured I know they are going to leave everything on the field. I just hope they get the win at all costs attitude back on board.

  • dyogesh on October 6, 2009, 2:09 GMT

    I can't think of another team that could have lost their in-form batsman, their best ODI bowler and first choice keeper and still won an almost knock-out tournament. The closest team i can think of are the runners-up. Every match threw a new injury but they managed to scrap along until Dan broke. SA struggled with their best team. India without three first-choice players were average. SL stuttered with only Murali missing. England deserve some aadmiration for their performance without KP & Freddie but went off boil once their semis place were secure. Pakistan was Pakistan. They seem to play better as underdogs.

  • NIDOG on October 6, 2009, 2:14 GMT

    Well said.

  • vat69 on October 6, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    Yes the Australians once again shown what is the difference between a champion side and other teams who glorify themselves as if one swallow makes the summer. I mean team like India. Whenever the Aussies lose even narrowly like the last Ashes or for that matter the One day series against India in Australia, immediately the press even certain regional languages press write as if the Aussies have been thrashed. it is nothing but lack of heart to accept that Aussies are a super side. My congrats to Team Australia. Let hem show more such exhibition of commitment and the will to achieve and should open the eyes of fanatic Indian cricket fans not to dance for isolated wins of their Indian team.

  • Sanj747 on October 6, 2009, 2:25 GMT

    Awesome piece again Sambit. Always a pleasure to read. Great stuff.

  • 68704 on October 6, 2009, 2:44 GMT

    Nice piece, Australia are a "no excuses" team and their victory just proves that.There certainly is no aura about this team ,but I remember what David Lloyd kept saying that this team is a "workmanlike team". It has demonstrated now that it is better than that.I have been following cricket for over three decades now and I believe this Australian team is a bit like the Australian team of 1987 that won the world cup in India. That was an unheralded team starting from zeronwhile this team started at the top , had people retiring,, leaving with problems like Symonds, tormented by injuries, lost the Ashes and yet refused to disintegrate.The key really is Ponting, the leader and batsman guiding the youngsters{Watson against England}and taking body blows to his reputation and yet refusing to throw in the towel. I prefer this team to the earlier one, despite having none of the aura, as it seems more human, less arrogant and perhaps it may end up being less hated. Well done Australia sridhar

  • Number1CricketFan on October 6, 2009, 2:56 GMT

    Congrats Australia, you thoroughly deserved the win! A good solid team with good players in key positions

  • OldAussie on October 6, 2009, 2:59 GMT

    Well said, CustomKid. For me the last two wins - in the Tests in South Africa and now here, have been very satisfying as an Aussie supporter. They closely followed losses when many wanted and willed us to finally be in free fall. I remember this attitude here when we were beaten by SAf in Australia, and I stuck up for our depth of talent that few knew about. Sure enough we came through with Siddle, Johnson and Hughes. Many had to eat their words. We've lost two Ashes series, sure, but only by two runs and one stirring rearguard action. Not much has been said about the Oval's crazy, unaccountably dry pitch, deliberately prepared for one reason alone - to ensure there was no draw possible to 'save' Australia. English gamesmanship was also evident in the drawn Test, though they earned it.. We can be proud of our selectors too; with a big job to do in recent years, they rarely falter, unlike too many other countries..

  • sumit_fan on October 6, 2009, 3:05 GMT

    Winning is not an act it's a habit. Who else can exhibit it better than the Aussies. Australia is not team I would not always like to support but that's the team which commands respect and the exaltation. Their emphatic victories in all the major finals tell the story. Even without potential match winners like Haddin, Clarke or Bracken they look so formidable and destructive. The game against England was just an illustration of the profundity in skill and hunger for success in that part of the world. Whenever you are "forced" to think that the Aussies will faze out, there comes a warrior, who is geared up to face the music and turn the tides. Shane Watson has shown yet again why he is one of the most dangerous players in world cricket. I guess the dictionaries used in Australia don't have the word losing anymore. Its their mental toughness that makes them the Superpower in Cricket that they are. Good job Kiwis but better luck next time. Aussie Aussie Aussie go go go!!!!

  • dil333 on October 6, 2009, 3:26 GMT

    Still, real test is Test matches.

    They've been dropping down.

    Although this Champions Trophy was short and good, still enjoy the World Cup more, since each team gets to play each other once, at least the good teams do. Like here, interesting matches would have been SA v Aus, or SA v IND, or SL v Aus etc, which would have happened in the world cup, but not here. But that's okay, since this is a short tournament.

    Hope the world cup stays long though.