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Batting first suited Australia; and when they took the field to defend a total of 253, it was in the knowledge that no side batting second had scored 254 to win in this World Cup. England, 135 for two after 31 overs, and with Australia beginning to show signs of disarray in the field, were then almost on target. But in a moment too crass to contemplate, Gatting handed back the initiative. To Border's first ball, bowled on the line of his leg stump, the England captain attempted to play a reverse sweep. Having in the semi-final swept the ball on to his leg stump, he now contrived to hit it on to his shoulder, whence it looped into Dyer's gloves. The Australians' joy was unconcealed.
England had conceded points from the start, an erratic opening spell from DeFreitas and Small helping Marsh and Boon post 52 in ten overs. Foster and the two spinners repaired the damage, with Foster's eight overs costing just 16 runs and bringing the wicket of Marsh in the eighteenth over. Gooch, too, was economical until coming under fire as Border and Veletta (31 balls, six fours) added 73 in the ten overs following Boon's dismissal. Boon's 75 (125 balls, seven fours) was his fifth score of 50 or more in six innings. DeFreitas, brought back to bowl the last over, went for 11 to bring to 65 the runs scored from England's last six overs.
Robinson, undone by pace to no-one's great surprise, was out first ball to McDermott's fourth. Gooch (57 balls) and Athey put on 65 in seventeen overs, Athey and Gatting (45 balls) 69 in thirteen, Athey (104 balls) and Lamb 35 in just over eight. It was Waugh whose throw ran out Athey as he went for a third run; and with England slipping farther behind the run-rate (75 from ten overs had drifted to 46 from five), he bowled Lamb (55 balls) in the 47th over. DeFreitas gave England renewed hope with 14 (464) in McDermott's penultimate over, but Waugh conceded just 2 runs, as well as having DeFreitas caught, in the 49th. That left 17 runs needed from the final over, and there was no way McDermott was going to allow that.
Man of the Match: D. C. Boon. Attendance: 70,000 approx.
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