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Matthew Hayden and His Unmatchable World Cup Affair

Hayden's Unmatchable World Cup Feat

When you talk about Australia and World Cups, it is hard to pinpoint one particular player as the standout performer. But when you dig deeper and churn out the numbers, you won’t be surprised to see Matthew Hayden’s name right up there. His numbers at World Cups are staggering, but what’s even more astonishing is this:

Hayden At World Cups

Matches Played: 22

Total Runs Scored: 987

Average: 51.94

Strike Rate: 92.93

50’s/100’s: 2/3

Matches Team Won: 22

The last stat right there; that’s the one that really speaks about Hayden’s unmatcable World Cup affair! With this in mind, let me run you down all those 22 World Cup innings played by Matthew Hayden. Some great, some not so, and some breathtaking. Let’s relive them all, one by one.

matthew-hayden-and-his-unmatchable-world-cup-affair

World Cup 2003

Match 1: 27 off 41 vs Pakistan, 11th Feb

Matthew Hayden’s first ever World Cup game was at the 2003 World Cup against Pakistan. The opponent’s bowling line-up comprised of one of the most lethal troika of fast and swing bowlers in Shoaib Akhter, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis. It wasn’t easy for any opener, especially with such quality bowlers. But Hayden did manage to survive ten overs and collected three boundaries before eventually being castled by Akram for 27 off 41 balls.

Match Result: Australia won by 82 runs.

Match 2: 45* off 49 vs India, 15th Feb

After a convincing win over Pakistan, Australia were up against a strong Indian outfit led by Sourav Ganguly. But what transpired was utter shell shocking. Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie in particular ran through the Indian batting. They were bundled out for a paltry 125. The chase was pretty straightforward and Hayden’s composed unbeaten 45, which included one four and two sixes, ensured Australia sailed home without any hiccups.

Match Result: Australia won by 9 wickets.

Match 3: 33 off 60 vs Netherlands, 20th Feb

The game against the Netherlands saw Hayden open the batting with his new opening partner in Jimmy Maher. Both got the Aussies off to a decent start before Maher was dismissed. Hayden carried on, but not for long. He was eventually dismissed for 33 off 60 deliveries; a highly un-like Haydos innings; who generally loves to tonk the ball to all parts. Australia couldn’t last their full quota of overs as weather intervened, leaving them playing only 36 overs. Netherlands were never in the run chase and fell apart, handing the Australians a third successive victory on the trot.

Match Result: Australia won by 75 runs (D/L method)

Match 4: 34 off 39 vs Zimbabwe, 24th Feb

Batting first, Zimbabwe posted a challenging score of 246 runs. Chasing 247, the Australians needed a solid start. Gilchrist was back, and so was the quick start. Both Gilly and Haydos provided the perfect start with a wonderful 89 runs opening partnership. Hayden was the first to be dismissed, but not before scoring a brisk 34 off 39 that was studded with 5 hits to the fence. The solid start was enough to give Australia another World Cup win.

Match Result: Australia won by 7 wickets.

Match 5: 88 off 73 vs Namibia, 27th Feb

Against Namibia, Hayden gave us glimpses of what he can actually do if he stayed at the wicket for some time. Batting first, Hayden gave Australia a rollicking start. He kept thwarting the inexperienced Namibian bowling attack to all parts of the ground. Haydos raced to 88 in no time and looked all set to score his maiden World Cup ton, but was castled by Namibia’s Louis Burger. Although he missed his hundred, Hayden entertained the crowd. His innings was studded with 9 boundaries and 3 gigantic sixes.

Match Result: Australia won by 256 runs.

Match 6: 1 off 4 vs England, 2nd Mar

Australia vs England is cricket’s greatest and oldest rivalry. When the two locked horns at World Cups, there was always a mouth watering contest in store. This particular encounter was no better. After bundling England out for just 204, the Aussies had their tails up. Hayden was booming with confidence from his previous knock, and Australia expected the veteran to deliver once again. But unfortunately, the big Queenslander lasted only four deliveries. Australia huffed and they puffed and eventually eked out a narrow win, all thanks to Michael Bevan’s gritty 74*.

Match Result: Australia won by 2 wickets.

Match 7: 22 off 34 vs Sri Lanka, 7th Mar

On a seemingly flat wicket, Australia was batting first. It was the perfect time for Haydos to regain form. After a sedate start, Hayden and Gilchrist began finding the gaps. Twelve overs done and the Aussie openers were still grinding it out, until a Muralidharan delivery found a thick chunk of Hayden’s bat and was gladly gobbled up by Dilshan. Haydos was gone for 22, but not before a fine 75-run opening stand with Gilly. Australia posted a huge score of 319, led by Gilchrist’s 99 and Ponting’s fine 114. Sri Lanka never seemed to be in the chase, and fell well short of the taget. Australia, on the other hand, cruised to their 7th win on the bounce.

Match Result: Australia won by 96 runs.

Match 8: 1 off 4 vs New Zealand, 11th Mar

Next up was the battle between the Trans-tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand. Haydos was desperate for runs despite the team being on a winning streak. And once again unfortunately, he fell for a low score. This time for only a run off just four deliveries. All batters seemed to have struggled on the night as the Australians posted only 208 on board. Defending just 209, Brett Lee came out all guns blazing and his sensational 5-fer helped Australia to a big win.

Match Result: Australia won by 96 runs.

Match 9: 20 off 14 vs Kenya, 15th Mar

Australia’s next match was against minnows Kenya, but they way they were going about their business, you would think twice before calling them that. Kenya were having a dream tournament, and the Aussies were keen on keeping their winning streak going. Batting first, the Kenyans only managed 174 in their allotted 50 overs. Chasing a modest total, Hayden got the chase going with five super boundaries. He went for more and in the process lost his wicket. Australia did lose a few more wickets after Hayden’s departure, but still managed to chase the target down inside 32 overs.

Match Result: Australia won by 5 wickets.

Match 10: 20 off 38 vs Sri Lanka, 18th Mar

It was semi-final time. Australia entered the knockouts unconquered. And now there was no room for slip ups. Batting first, Australia got off to a sedate start, all thanks to Gilly and Haydos. But they soon found themselves two down, with Gilly and Ponting back in the hut. The onus was now on Hayden to play it safe, but Chaminda Vaas had other ideas. Hayden was dismissed for 20. In a spot of bother, Symonds came up with the good with a fighting 91*. Australia ended up on 212. In search for 213, Sri Lanka’s chase was halted by weather and the target was reduced to 172 in 38-odd overs. The Lankans never looked comfortable in the chase, and eventually fell short by a handsome margin.

Match Result: Australia won by 48 runs (D/L method).

Match 11: 37 off 54 vs India, 23rd Mar

The 2003 World Cup final saw Australia lock horns with India. Put into bat, Gilchrist and Hayden once again gave the Australians a flying start. Hundred runs were put on the board before Gilly fell. Soon afterwards, Hayden followed suit but not before collecting 5 boundaries in his knock of 37. Ponting (140*) and Martyn (88*) batted through as the Aussies posted a mammoth 359 runs. India never looked comfortable in the chase, and had lost their main man Sachin Tendulkar in the very first over. Australia wrapped up the match and pocketed yet another World Cup title (their then third World Cup crown).

matthew-hayden-and-his-unmatchable-world-cup-affair

World Cup 2007

Match 12: 60 off 73 vs Scotland, 14th Mar

World Champions Australia began their title defence with minnows Scotland. Once again, Gilly and Haydos opened for the Aussies. Both gave the team a solid a start, with both scoring almost equally. Gilly fell for 46 but not before stitching a wonderful 91-run partnership with Haydos. After the departure of Gilchrist, Haydos continued his run scoring and raced to 60 before being trapped in front by Majid Haq. The start provided by the Aussie openers helped the team end on 334; a score which seemed way beyond Scotland’s reach. The Aussie bowlers were in fine rhythm and skittled out the Socts for a paltry 131, thus winning by a humongous 203 runs.

Match Result: Australia won by 203 runs.


Match 13: 29 off 34 vs Netherlands, 18th Mar

Australia’s next match was again against an associate nation in Netherlands. Batting first, Gilly and Haydos once again put on a 50-run plus stand. Hayden was looking in good touch and had already clobbered four boundaries and one six before perishing to a Tim de Leede delivery. Haydos fell after a good start but that laid the platform for the Clarkes and Hodges to take the team total to a challenging one. Australia finished on a solid 358 for 5 in 50 overs. Netherlands never looked like chasing this, especially after Brad Hogg’s four-fer dented their hopes of even getting to the 150-run mark. They eventually were bundled out for 129, giving the Australians a 13th consecutive World Cup win.

Match Result: Australia won by 229 runs.

Match 14: 101 off 68 vs South Africa, 24th Mar

Perhaps the most important game in Group A wherein the winners of this particular match would end up as group winners. Australia were on a hot streak whereas their opponents South Africa were coming off two big wins. Australia once again were batting first, and as usual, Gilly and Haydos laid down the perfect platform with a 100+ opening partnership. Gilly left, but Hayden continued. He batted and batted and batted, whacking 14 fours and 4 glorious sixes enroute to a scintillating ton. It seemed as though he would’ve carried but Kallis sent the Queenslander back to the hut. Australia ended with a massive 377 for 6. Chasing a big score South Africa got off to a sensational start with Graeme Smith and AB De Villiers stitching a 160-run partnership in just over 20 overs. Once De Villiers was run out, Australia clawed their way back and eventually ended up winning the contest by a hefty margin.

Match Result: Australia won by 83 runs.


Match 15: 158 off 143 vs West Indies, 27th-28th Mar

In their opening Super 8s match, the mighty Aussies were up against the West Indies. Once again Australia were batting first but this time the opening stand did not last long. Only 10 runs on the board and Gilchrist was sent back. On the other hand though, Hayden continued his fine form. First, he stitched a 50+ partnership with skipper Ponting and then a close to 100 runs stand with Clarke. Both fell, but Haydos kept moving forward. The veteran batted almost the 50 overs and scored a whopping 158 off 143 which was studded with 14 boundaries and 4 sixes. Australia once again ended on a score in excess of 300. Chasing 323, the Windies lost three early wickets and although there was some resistance shown by Lara and Ramdin, the Windies fell well short of the target.

Match Result: Australia won by 103 runs.

Match 16: 47* off 39 vs Bangladesh, 31st Mar

Australia’s next Super 8 clash was against Bangladesh. The match was shortened to a 22-over affair, and for a change, the Aussies were bowling first. The bowlers were on song as usual, while the Bangladeshi batsmen struggled to find any momentum in their innings. They finished on 104 for 6 in 22 overs. Chasing a meagre 105 runs,Gilly and Haydos thwarted the bowlers to all parts. Gilly ended on 59* while Haydos remained unbeaten on 47 off 39 that included one four and three sixes. The openers chased down the target inside 14 overs as the Australians won a sensational 16 World Cup matches on the trot.

Match Result: Australia won by 10 wickets.


Match 17: 41 off 50 vs England, 8th Apr

The third Super 8 game was against arch-rivals England. The English won the toss and opted to bat first. Riding on Kevin Pietersen’s 104 and Ian Bell’s 77, England scored a respectable 247 runs on the board. At the chase, Australia once again got a 50+ opening partnership from Gilchrist and Hayden. Gilly fell but Haydos carried on along with Ponting. Haydos was nearing another half century when he was castled by a Paul Collingwood delivery. He fell for 41 but not before entertaining the crowd with 6 hits to the fence. Ponting’s 86 and Clarke’s unbeaten 55 helped the Australians cross over the line. Another win in the bag for the Australians stretched their unbeaten streak to 17 games!

Match Result: Australia won by 7 wickets.


Match 18: DNB vs Ireland, 13th Apr

After three crucial Super 8 wins, Australia seemed to be crusing into the semi-finals. Next up was a match against minnows Ireland. Opting for field first, the Australians got the Irish by the scruff of their necks; bundling them out for a paltry 91 runs. Nothing was amusing by that performance, but what amused all was when Gilly strode out with a new opening parter in Michael Hussey. It seemed as though Hayden was given a break from batting. Hussey and Gilly though, smashed the bowlers to all parts of the ground. Gilly was dismissed when the score read 62, but Hussey and newly promoted Symonds at three ensured that there was no hiccups. Australia sailed home inside 13 overs.

Match Result: Australia won by 9 wickets.

Match 19: 41 off 30 vs Sri Lanka, 16th Apr

For Australia’s next Super 8 match against the Sri Lankans, Matthew Hayden was back in the playing XI. The Lankans won the important toss and withut hesitation, opted to have a bat first. They lost three early wickets inside the first seven overs, and thanks to a steady stand by skipper Jayawardena (72) and Chamara Silva (64), Sri Lanka ended on 226. The target was not at all a daunting one, and Gilchrist and Haydos came out with all guns blazing. Hayden seemed to be in a hurry and stroked five fours and two sixes nd raced into the 40’s before falling prey to the unlikeliest of bowlers in Russell Arnold. Nevertheless, he gave the Aussies a solid start and the batters that followed made sure his efforts did not go in vain. The Aussies cruised home inside 43 overs with 7 wickets in hand.

Match Result: Australia won by 7 wickets.


Match 20: 103 off 100 vs New Zealand, 20th Apr

Australia’s final Super 8 game was against trans-tasman rivals New Zealand. On a good batting wicket, Australia won the toss and without a doubt, opted to bat first. Although Gilly fell very early, Hayden and Ponting kept the runs and score board ticking nicely. Haydos was playing the aggressor’s role while Ponting was more than happy to play second fiddle. The 137-run partnership was finally broken when Ponting fell for 66, but Hayden carried on. He continued his power hitting and reached his third World Cup 100. As soon as he got there, he was outfoxed by Scott Styris for 103. Australia ended up with a healthly total of 348 for 6, thanks to some fine hitting by Shane Watson (65* off 32) towards the end. In the chase, the Kiwis looked out of sorts. Wickets kept tumbling and they never seemed to be in the contest. Eventually, they were bundled out for just 133, handing the Aussies a massive win and a clean slate going into the knockouts.

Match Result: Australia won by 215 runs.


Match 21: 41 off 60 vs South Africa, 25th Apr

The Australians entered the semi-finals as the firm favourites after having won all their Super 8 clashes. Being asked to bowl first, the Aussie quicks, led by Shaun Tait (4 wickets) and Glenn McGrath (3 wickets) in particular, broke the South African backs with some hostile bowling. South Africa were skittled out for a meagre 149 as the Aussies already had one foot in the finals. Chasing just 150, Gilchrist fell very early, but Hayden and Ponting steadied the ship. Haydos looked in good touch and played a sedate innings of 41 that included four hits to the fence. By the time Hayden fell, Australia were within touching distance. It was just a matter of time before Australia sailed over the line and booked yet another World Cup final for themselves.

Match Result: Australia won by 7 wickets.


Match 22: 38 off 55 vs Sri Lanka, 28th Apr

The 2007 World Cup final was marred by rain, and due to that, the contest was reduced to a 38-over affair. Batting first, Autralia started in a thunderous fashion. After a few low scores to the lead up of the final, Gilchrist looked a different player. While Haydos was more than happy to rotate the strike, Gilly was charging the Sri Lankan bowlers and thwarting them to all corners of the field. In an opening partnesship of 172, Haydos only managed to score 38 runs but it was a well made 38. Gilly continued his blitzkrieg and raced to 149 off just 103 balls before perishing the following delivery. Thanks to his stellar knock Australia ended on 281 for 4 in 38 overs. Chasing a score in excess of 7 RPO against a quailty attack was always going to be difficult but Sangakkara (54) and Jayasuriya (63) were looking in good touch after the early loss of Tharanga. But when Sangakkara fell to Brad Hogg, all went downhill from there for the Sri Lankans. They never really recovered from there, and in the end fell well short of the target. Australia were crowned champions of the world yet again (4th title then) as Matthew Hayden stretched his unbeaten World Cup record as a player to 22 matches. Haydos ended the tournament with 659 runs and played an instrumental part in the men from down under from winning a record 4th World Cup. But the player of the series went Glenn McGrath’s way as the fiery fast bowler had bagged a stellar 26 wickets in just 11 matches.

Match Result: Australia won by 53 runs (D/L method).

matthew-hayden-and-his-unmatchable-world-cup-affair

Conclusion

While there are many great players who have played World Cups, there are only rare players like Matthew Hayden who has been blessed to be part of an unbeaten team. Twenty two World Cup matches, and Matthew Hayden has been a part of twenty two victories. Such a stunning achievement, really!

Long live, Matthew Hayden!

© 2020 Ronald Daniel Sampson

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