Second Final, Australia v England

The Commonwealth Bank Series, 2006-07

Peter English

At Sydney, February 11, 2007 (day/night). England won by 34 runs (D/L method). Toss: England.

England outplayed Australia for the third consecutive match to win the Commonwealth Bank finals 2-0, without the need for a decider. England made 246, and after Plunkett landed three telling blows the only threat to their overall victory was rain. A fourth break for wet weather arrived with Australia at 79 for five, and England desperate to bowl another 22 balls to complete the 20 overs needed to constitute a match. Australia eventually resumed, wanting 211 in 33 and, though it rained again, it was too late for Australia. The 20-over mark was passed, and Watson was superbly caught by the diving Dalrymple at point in one of the catches of the season. When the final shower came to end the game and the tournament, England were 34 runs ahead on the Duckworth/Lewis formula. As with the 2005 Ashes, England's moment of triumph was confirmed when they were inside the dressing-room. The players danced and bounced around inside before going back out to salute their damp supporters. Australia had not lost these finals in 14 years (in 1996-97 and 2001-02 they failed to qualify). "It's a very poor way to finish what has been a tremendous summer," said Ponting. Yet again Collingwood was at the heart of England's performance. In tougher batting conditions, with frequent interruptions, he never had a realistic chance of his third successive century. But he scored 70 off 90 balls, and his 97-run partnership with Flintoff gave England the edge. They faded in the closing stages, and when McGrath - playing what he said would be his last game in Australia - dismissed Nixon with the final ball to claim his 50th wicket in one-day internationals at the SCG, only 28 runs had come from the last five overs. Gilchrist began the chase in explosive style before the innings withered away. Hayden thumped a Mahmood slower ball to short cover, then Ponting edged a fine outswinger from Plunkett, who was more dangerous still after the next shower. Plunkett's first over after the break was pivotal: the first ball veered between Gilchrist's bat and pad and clipped off stump, Collingwood spilled an edge from Hodge, and Clarke was caught behind. Flintoff angled one across Hussey shortly afterwards and had him caught behind too: Australia had slumped to 63 for five, and were heading for a humiliating defeat. At least they were out of sight when it happened. Flintoff was presented with a trophy far larger than the titchy Ashes urn. The tournament was now under its fourth sponsor's name in its 28 years, and Australia have lost the first year under the new billing each time. But for England, even triumph could not be unalloyed: a few hours after the game, their physio, Dean Conway, was robbed at knifepoint while he was on his mobile in the foyer of the team hotel.

Man of the Finals: P. D. Collingwood. Attendance: 40,076.

Man of the Series: R. T. Ponting.

© Wisden Cricketers' Almanack