Ruthless Australia thump Kiwis by seven wickets

Saturday, 26 February 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

(Reuters) - Ruthless Australia compounded the miseries of rivals New Zealand by notching up a seven-wicket victory in their World Cup match on Friday.

Chasing an easy target of 207 runs for victory, Australia openers Shane Watson (62) and Brad Haddin (55) piled on 133 runs for the first wicket in just 18 overs as they punished the erratic bowling of New Zealand in the Group A encounter.

The start ensured that there were no hiccups, though both openers departed in the same over to paceman Hamish Bennett.

Captain Ricky Ponting (12) followed soon after, stumped brilliantly down the leg side by Brendon McCullum off Tim Southee.

Vice captain Michael Clarke and Cameron White saw Australia home in just 34 overs with an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 40 runs to extend their team’s unbeaten run in World Cup to 31 matches.

The match was played against a sombre backdrop following the devastating earthquake in Christchurch earlier this week. Both teams wore black arm-bands and the New Zealand flag flew at half mast in memory of the victims of the earthquake, which has claimed at least 113 lives with 228 people still missing.