Although it was only drizzle, it continued long enough to cause the first spillover of this World Cup. The rain began soon after the players had gone off the field, Australia having made 322 for 6. The covers were immediately on and briefly the players came back just after 3.30pm local time. But as they walked on the drizzle restarted, and that was the end of that. When there was no chance of completing 20 overs, the minimum required to constitute a match - West Indies would have been chasing 163 had that been the case - play was called off. The teams will now be back on Wednesday, the reserve day, with West Indies needing 323 to win from the full complement of 50 overs.
50 overs Australia 322 for 6 (Hayden 158) v West Indies
Matthew Hayden’s ninth ODI century powered Australia to a challenging 322 for 6 in their first Super Eights match against West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. There were several other Australians who threatened, but West Indies’ bowlers managed to pick up wickets at regular enough intervals to prevent Australia from having a no-holds-barred thrash at the end of the innings.
It’s amazing that a batsman of Hayden’s power and authority has struggled to achieve more in one-day cricket. Only six months ago he was out of the Australian team, and even with the World Cup coming around he was not a certain starter, with the side using various opening partners for Adam Gilchrist. But this innings was typically Hayden, and it was the kind of knock that could prove matchwinning on a virgin pitch that no-one is entirely sure of.
Hayden began assuredly, but extremely slowly, only getting off the mark on the 18th ball he faced. Even then, it seemed as though he was batting in two gears. He was blocking more than he was working away for ones and twos, and waiting keenly for the loose ball that he could dispatch for four. Consecutive off-drives against Jerome Taylor helped get the feet and the scoreboard moving.
As Hayden was finding his feet, Gilchrist had been and gone, edging Daren Powell to Denesh Ramdin. Ricky Ponting took over the proceedings with some urgent running and a superbly hit pull that sailed into the stands over deep backward square-leg. Ponting was shaping up to play one of his big-match knocks, middling everything and choosing his strokes well, but an error of judgment in running curtailed his innings on 35, when a direct hit from Ramnaresh Sarwan at cover found him well short of his crease.
Michael Clarke replaced Ponting, and though he wasn’t quite as authoritative, there was a pleasing air to his drives, square of the wicket on the off side and straight back down the ground. In the meantime, with wickets having fallen, Hayden was sharpening his gameplan with every passing over. The slow start had been left behind, and Hayden was building his innings with the skill and commonsense of a master mason.
Clarke and Hayden had added almost 100 for the third wicket when Dwayne Bravo forced the breakthrough with a ball that jagged back in a touch and trapped Clarke in front. Andrew Symonds and Michael Hussey both went rather quickly, the first jamming Marlon Samuels to the keeper and the second dragging Powell back on to his stumps, and at 234 for 5 in the 41st over, there was just the thought that West Indies had taken enough wickets to keep Australia under 300.
But that was not accounting for what Hayden would do. Some batsmen cramp after reaching a long hundred, others play desperate shots with tired limbs. Hayden barely seemed to sweat as he finally unveiled the range of strokes that has made him the sort of batsmen that inspires naked fear in bowlers. Taylor was the first to suffer, being hit for a six over long-on, a four through extra-cover and a mighty six over midwicket.
In the next over Samuels offered more variety than the predictable Taylor, but Hayden showed he had a stroke for each ball. One was pulled through midwicket, an extra-quick delivery sent down to the third-man fence, and a slower ball hit with unbelievable power over midwicket to bring up his 150. Rain brought temporary relief to the West Indians, but the players were back soon enough, and Hayden continued where he left off, creaming Collymore for a four through cover. But at 158, off only 143 balls, with 14 fours and four sixes, Hayden’s epic came to and end, holing out to Samuels at long-off against Bravo. Hayden had more than done his bit, and Australia were well on the way to 300.
Shane Watson swept a six, swatted a full-toss through midwicket, crashed one through extra-cover, waited and carved a slower ball over the infield to end the innings, picking up 33 off 26 balls to wind up the Australian innings.
Source:Cricket WorldcupMore on:Australia, Matthew Hayden, West Indies, World Cup
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 and is filed under World Cup 2007.
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