Thursday, September 20, 2007

Aussies 10-wicket knockout punch to Sri Lankans

Cape Town: Adversity brings out the best in the Australians. Facing a knock-out game and without their skipper Ricky Ponting – officially recognised as the best player in the world – Australia responded in a manner only the world champions can.

Adam Gilchrist-led Australia knocked Sri Lanka out of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament by ten wickets at the Newlands cricket ground here on Thursday.

Chasing a measly target of 102 runs, openers Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden knocked off the formalities in just 10.2 overs as the world champions sail into the semis.

Hayden, bullying the bowling in his usual, inimitable manner, made an unbeaten 58 off 38 balls with seven fours and two sixes while his skipper was undefeated on 31 off 25 balls with four fours.

So severe was the hammering administered to the Sri Lankans that they looked like schoolboys lost on a huge University playground through the Australian innings.

In all fairness to the Lankan bowlers, there was really not much that they could have done with a score like that. It was only all about running up to the wicket, try and keep it in the right areas, and wait for the inevitable to happen.

In any case, Hayden and Gilchrist have far too much of batting class to let the Lankans go unpunished after their spineless display. The usual pulls and drives and slashes were out on display, with just a little touch of arrogance.

They toyed with the bowlers, really. If any bowler managed a few dot balls, the next delivery would just sail into one of the stands or crash into the hoardings. A completely one-sided contest!

Earlier, the Stuart Clark-Brett Lee combo bowled Sri Lankans out for 101 in 19.3 overs, which is sure to send a few shivers down the spines of some other teams.

Gilchrist, standing in for injured Ponting, chose to have a bowl and Lee struck in his first over itself, removing Sanath Jayasuriya for a duck. The Newlands pitch offered quite a bit of assistance to the seamers, and once 'Stuey' Clark arrived at the party, the Aussie fans gulped down their beers in glee.

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