BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — A bit of weather role reversal was creating opposite vibes for the co-hosts of the Cricket World Cup on Friday.
In New Zealand’s capital Wellington, which can often be hit by wind and rain regardless of the season, the Black Caps and their ace pace bowler Tim Southee, who took seven wickets, embarrassed England by eight wickets in their Pool A match under mostly sunny skies and perfect playing conditions.
Southee took 7-33 to help bowl out England for 123 in the 34th of its allotted 50 overs, the best performance by a New Zealand bowler in one-day international cricket.
Captain Brendon McCullum set a World Cup record by reaching 50 from 18 deliveries as New Zealand scored all but 12 of the 124 runs it needed to win before a scheduled 45-minute intermission, then finishing off the English in just 15 minutes after lunch in a total of 12.2 overs.
“It was pretty special to come out and bowl very well,” Southee said as he accepted his player-of-the match award. “Everyone has their moment and I guess today was a day when everything went well for us.”
England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and batted but later regretted his decision.
“I thought New Zealand bowled really well, conditions suited them, Morgan said. “It swung throughout the whole of our innings, which was unexpected. Credit goes to them, they built pressure.”
The other co-host, Australia, which sits second to New Zealand in Pool A after beating England by 111 runs in its opening match, was forced to practice indoors in Brisbane after heavy rain associated with Cyclone Marcia hit the Queensland state coast about 600 kilometres (400 miles) north of the city and flooded their outdoor training area.
It’s not that often that cyclones hit the coast this far south, and the ensuing rain, high winds and flooding was expected to place in doubt Australia’s match Saturday against Bangladesh. This is the tail end of the cyclone season in Queensland, but the so-called Sunshine State’s tourism motto of “Beautiful one day, perfect the next,” was being sorely tested.
The International Cricket Council said in a statement that a decision on the match wouldn’t be made until Saturday morning
The Gabba match would mark the return to the lineup of Australia captain Michael Clarke, who has been recovering from right hamstring surgery. The player to be cut to make room for Clarke could be stand-in captain George Bailey or out-of-form allrounder Shane Watson.
“As much as we would like to get out on the field and continue our form I think we need to realise how bad this cyclone is and hope that everyone is healthy and safe,” Clarke said Friday. “We will worry about the cricket tomorrow.”
In the other match on Saturday, which begins the second week of the seven-week tournament, Pakistan plays the West Indies at Christchurch, New Zealand. Both teams are winless and the loser of this match could be outsiders to make it to the quarterfinals from Pool B.
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq was mildly critical of some of his batsmen who didn’t produce in Pakistan’s 76-run opening loss to arch-rival India.
Pakistan batting great Javed Miandad wasn’t so subtle, criticizing a “lack of planning from the Pakistan think-tank for such a mega event.”
Pakistan elevated Younis Khan to open and relied on part-time wicketkeeper Umar Akmal to bolster the batting lineup against India. Both decisions backfired.
“I can’t remember a weaker Pakistan side,” Miandad was quoted as saying on the tournament’s website. “It’s not because other teams have got stronger, but because Pakistan has ignored more deserving players.”
The West Indies lineup came in for heavy criticism from within and outside the Caribbean following its opening four-wicket loss to Ireland.
All-rounder Darren Sammy said the two-time champion West Indies weren’t really prepared for such a fine performance from an Associates, or second-tier, Ireland lineup — “We took them for granted and we paid the price.”
He all but admitted the Caribbean squad needed to beat 1992 champion Pakistan or its World Cup might be over.
“If we continue to play like that we won’t be here for long that is for sure,” Sammy said. “As a group we need to find some motivation somewhere, and find it quickly.”