Australia steamrolled West Indies by 127 runs to take the DLF Cup in some style on a day that saw one team straining to lift its game as the other fell completely to pieces. For West Indian supporters this is just yet another defeat that will be hard to stomach, and barring the unfortunate dismissal of Brian Lara - given out caught behind when he had not touched the ball - they had no-one to blame but themselves. The batsmen failed utterly in their pursuit of 241, at one stage being reduced to 56 for 6, before some desperate hitting reduced the margin of defeat.
Australia, in stark contrast, showed the appetite for hard work when they batted. They quickly realised that it was not easy to score fluently on this pitch, and approached the innings with realistic expectations. Damien Martyn provided the sense, Andrew Symonds the brute force, and Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin put the icing on a well-baked cake. The West Indian reply was another story altogether.
They say you should begin as you mean to go on, and West Indies seemed to have taken that to heart. There was nothing Chris Gayle could do about the rocket he received first up. The ball was fast, full, swinging, and destined to crash into the base of the middle stump till Gayle's boot got in the way, leaving him plumb in front. West Indies desperately needed Gayle to fire, and spend some time at the crease, if they were to make a serious fist of chasing the target before them, and that hope was shattered at the first instance.
Runako Morton came out to bat at No. 3, with some very specific instructions to seal one end up, one would think - because he played the kind of innings that made Wavell Hinds's 59-ball 8 seem like a blitzkrieg. Without making the slightest attempt to score a run - forget about trying to hit boundaries - Morton showed the kind of self-denial that would have made a Buddhist monk proud. After 31 balls without scoring - the longest duck in the history of ODIs, beating Phil Simmons's 23-ball effort against New Zealand in 1994 - Mark Benson was empathetic enough to raise his finger to a confident shout for lbw and end Morton's misery.
While Morton was maintaining his vigil Shivnarine Chanderpaul came and went, bothering the scorers only to the tune of 12 runs before spooning a catch off Nathan Bracken to Simon Katich. But the really big blow came when Lara, who had played one sweet cover-drive early on, was given out caught behind off Bracken. There was a loud sound as the ball passed bat, and this would have confused Benson, but the ball made no contact with the bat, and the sound came from bat hitting pad. Lara was visibly disappointed at the decision, but unlike in an earlier game, with another great batsman, there was no recall from Benson.
Ramnaresh Sarwan was the one saving grace for West Indies, but he had no chance to express himself fully as his compatriots surrendered abjectly to the Australians. Dwayne Bravo spent 23 balls getting to 8 before failing to resist the temptation to hook when Shane Watson banged one in short, and struck the ball straight to the safe hands of Ricky Ponting in the leg side. Hinds played an airy drive with feet stuck in cement and Watson had his second wicket as the off stump was pegged back. At 56 for 6, West Indies' game was all over, and it was only a matter of time before the fat lady burst into song.
Dwayne Smith kept Sarwan good company, and in striking some clean blows, kept defeat temporarily at bay, delaying the inevitable. The partnership for the seventh wicket, an even 50, and by some way the best of the innings, ended when a moment of indecision between the stumps was pounced on by one of brilliance in the field as Ponting swooped in on a ball that had been dabbed to the leg side and ran out Sarwan with a deadly throw at the bowler's end. Sarwan had made 36. The end came soon enough, with West Indies bowled out for 113.
If West Indies needed any clue about how to go about their innings on this wicket they needed to look no further than what happened earlier in the day. Australia, far from their best, and certainly nowhere near fluent as usual, lost Watson and Ponting with only 37 on the board. Katich followed soon after, but Martyn and Symonds stoically refused to panic. They buckled down and ground it out, keeping their heads low and wickets intact even as West Indies got through quiet over after quiet over. Once set, though, Symonds demonstrated that the boundaries at the Kinrara Oval were not quite long enough to contain him as he sweetly struck Bravo and then Gayle into the stands. All of a sudden the innings had fresh momentum, and the partnership - 73 for the fourth wicket which ended up being the highest of the game - had brought purpose and runs to Australia's cause.
Even the dismissals of Martyn and Symonds, for 52 apiece, within 20 minutes of each other, did not halt Australia's march. Hussey and Haddin expertly applied the finishing touches, lifted the score to 240, which ended up being 127 too many for West Indies.
Shane Watson c Gayle b Bradshaw 18 (24 for 1)
Flashed at a ball that angled away and edged to slip
Ricky Ponting lbw b Taylor 6 (37 for 2)
Beaten by a ball that kept low
Simon Katich c Samuels b Gayle 25 (80 for 3)
Holed out to long off
Damien Martyn c Morton b Bradshaw 32 (153 for 4)
Holed out to long off
Andrew Symonds c Morton b Sarwan 52 (173 for 5)
Swatted a ball to deep backward square-leg
Michael Clarke c Gayle b Sarwan 23 (200 for 6)
Top edged to cover
Chris Gayle lbw b Lee 0 (0 for 1)
Trapped in front by a perfect, swinging yorker
Shivnarine Chanderpaul c Katich b Bracken 12 (16 for 2)
Mis-hit to midwicket
Runako Morton lbw b Bracken 0 (20 for 3)
Played down the wrong line and trapped lbw
Brian Lara c Haddin b Bracken 5 (32 for 4)
Unlucky to be given out caught behind when bat hit pad
Dwayne Bravo c Ponting b Watson 8 (55 for 5)
Pulled straight to the fielder in the leg side
Wavell Hinds b Watson 0 (56 for 6)
Drove without footwork and bowled by an inswinger
Ramnaresh Sarwan run out (Ponting) 36 (106 for 7)
Indecisive running left him well short as a good bit of fielding ended in a direct hit
Dwayne Smith c Ponting b Lee 30 (112 for 8)
Hit straight to midwicket
Ian Bradshaw c Haddin b Lee 0 (112 for 9)
Drove without footwork and edged to the keeper
Carlton Baugh c Haddin b Lee 3 (113 for 10)
Top-edged an attempted pull and the ball went straight up in the air for the keeper to catch
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo