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Hayden smashing his way into form

MATTHEW Hayden must wonder what more he has to do to ensure himself a man-of-the-match award in Twenty20 cricket.

The Australian opener twice has plundered unbeaten half-centuries in wins over England and Bangladesh at the Twenty20 world championship. But twice he has been upstaged for individual honours by bowlers, with Nathan Bracken and Brett Lee taking the award.

For a format supposed to be weighted in favour of the batsmen, Australia’s bowlers have been enjoying more than their fair share of the spoils, although it is unlikely they will continue to be the highlight if Hayden maintains this form. Only 48 hours after smashing an unbeaten 67 off 43 balls against England, Hayden crushed 73 not out from 48 in Australia’s nine-wicket victory over Bangladesh at Newlands.

Hayden’s two innings — which featured 20 boundaries and four sixes — lifted the Queenslander’s Twenty20 average from a miserable 10 in three games, to an impressive 56.7 in five. The big scores also came with Adam Gilchrist returning to form with the bat after both openers made inauspicious returns following Australia’s four-month break.

Having crumbled to 3-19 in the upset to Zimbabwe — and been 3-21 against South Africa and 3-15 versus New Zealand in tournament warm-up games — Australia’s openers since have put on 78 against England, before smashing the country’s maiden Twenty20 century partnership (104 off 70 balls) versus Bangladesh. Only a run-out ended the stand, with Gilchrist dismissed for 43 after scoring 45 against England.

“When Gilly and Matty get set, we’ve seen what they can do it the last couple of games,” captain Ricky Ponting said.

■Cricket Australia has blasted Stuart MacGill for a lack of leadership after the leg spinner was fined for a fiery outburst during Australia A’s tour of Pakistan. MacGill has been fined 50 per cent of his match fee for breaching Cricket Australia’s code of behaviour during the match against Pakistan A in Faisalabad.

MacGill was reported following an incident where he approached Pakistan A’s Mansoor Amjad after he was struck on the foot from one of MacGill’s deliveries. “I have no problem with players being combative on the field but there is a line they cannot cross and Stuart crossed that line,” Cricket Australia general manager Michael Brown said.

Categories: Cricket News, twenty20
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