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Lee hat-trick destroys Bangladesh

svlee_narrowweb__300x3740.jpgBRETT Lee claimed a hat-trick to help set up Australia’s victory over Bangladesh in the Twenty20 World Cup this morning.

Cricket’s fastest current bowler demolished Bangladesh’s middle order during another outstanding Australian bowling performance as the tournament’s youngest side struggled to 8-123 from its 20 overs.

For the second time in three day opening batsmen Adam Gilchrist (43 from 26 balls) and Matthew Hayden (73 not out in 48 balls) then murdered the bowling, hitting 10 fours and seven sixes between them as Australia charged to a nine-wicket win with 6.1 overs to spare.

The result was a far cry from Australia’s first match of the tournament against another of cricket’s minnows, Zimbabwe, last Wednesday when the world champion’s suffered an embarrassing loss.

The Australians have since thrashed England last Friday to remain in the tournament and must now win at least one of the remaining second round matches against Pakistan in Johannesburg tomorrow (Tuesday) or Sri Lanka in Cape Town on Thursday to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals.

It was Lee’s second international hat-trick and both have come in South Africa during an international tournament. The first was in Durban four years ago against Kenya in the previous World Cup.

The impressive performance in a game designed largely for batsmen was some consolation for Lee missing Australia’s successful World Cup campaign earlier in the year with a serious ankle injury.

“That was hard, missing the World Cup,” Lee said. “To come over here and be back bowling again, I’m really happy with the way I’ve been bowling. “It’s always nice to get wickets on the big stage but the reason you play the game is try and win for Australia.

“Hopefully my three wickets helped but I’m enjoying just being back out there playing cricket for Australia. It’s as simple as that.”

While wickets can fall quickly in this slog-fest form of the game with wild swings and catches on the boundary, all three of Lee’s victims were genuine bowler’s wickets. The first was left-hander Shakib Al Hasan, who was caught behind attempting to cut a shortish ball too close to him. It was a length Lee bowled regularly to the Bangladeshis, who are not used to short-pitched fast bowling.

His second wicket was Mashrafe Mortaza bowled by a yorker and the third Alok Kapali leg before wicket to a full delivery. Things became even more bizarre when Lee almost bowled Farhad Reza with another yorker from the next delivery but it was a no ball, which gives batsmen a free hit at the next ball in Twenty20 cricket.

Reza smashed his free hit down the throat of Mitchell Johnson at long on, who took the catch, but it wasn’t a wicket in this ultra short form of the game.

Captain Ricky Ponting was delighted with a second clinical performance in three days.

“If you look at the way we’ve gone about our last two games, the results have been pretty impressive,” Ponting said.

“I’ve been really happy with the way the bowling group has performed in the last couple of games.

“If you wanted to be critical you could say there were a few too many extra. A few wides and no balls which maybe might come back and bite us at some stage.

“But the last two games have been pretty complete.”

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Categories: Cricket News, twenty20
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