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March 24, 2007
A flat pitch, extremely short boundaries, a quick outfield and two powerful batting line-ups - it was a potent mix at Basseterre, and the outcome, not surprisingly, was a match that yielded 671 runs in 98 overs. Australia have already been on the receiving end after posting huge totals, and through the first half of the run-chase they were in danger of adding another to the list, which would have meant the five highest chases would all have come against Australia. In the end they were saved the blushes by some superb bowling, but also by some inexplicable batting by Jacques Kallis.
Kallis came in with the score reading 160 after 21 - a run rate of 7.62 - and then managed just 48 off 63 balls over the next 22 overs, a period in which South Africa's scoring rate plummeted to 5.32. Of the 146 dot balls Australia bowled, 32 were to Kallis (22%), which increased the pressure on the other batsmen and ultimately resulted in a rash of wickets.
The Australian innings suffered from no such hiccups, though, with Matthew Hayden's 66-ball century - the fastest in World Cups, and also by an Australian in ODIs - being the stand-out knock. As with most Hayden innings, the highlight was his driving down the ground - 46 of his 101 runs came in the V between mid-off and mid-on. The opening partnership of 106 came in less than 15 overs, and what was particularly interesting was the manner in which Hayden and Adam Gilchrist took on the South African bowlers. Against Shaun Pollock, who pitches it up and is easier to drive down the ground, Hayden took charge, scoring at more than two runs per ball. He was more subdued against Makhaya Ntini's back-of-a-length attack, allowing Gilchrist to take over. The table below shows how the openers shared it around too - both faced exactly the same number of deliveries against each bowler.
|Batsman||Bowler||Balls||Runs||Runs per over|
|Matthew Hayden||Shaun Pollock||16||33||12.37|
|Matthew Hayden||Makhaya Ntini||16||13||4.87|
|Adam Gilchrist||Shaun Pollock||14||9||3.85|
|Adam Gilchrist||Makhaya Ntini||14||22||9.42|
The feature of the entire Australian innings was the manner in which they clobbered good-length bowling. The conditions lent themselves perfectly to the tactic of hitting through the line and over the top - the good-length balls went at more than seven per over, a tell-tale sign of just how dominant and confident the Australians were. South Africa, on the other hand, only scored at 5.37 runs off the good-length deliveries.
|Length||Balls||Runs||Runs per over|
Pollock is the one bowler who can usually be relied upon to keep it tight, but on such a good pitch even he was utterly powerless, ending up with his most expensive ODI figures. In 277 one-day internationals, this was the first time he went at more than eight per over. In fact, Pollock has gone at more than seven an over only three times, and they've all been against Australia, which is the side against whom his career economy rate is the highest. (Click here for Pollock's ODI career summary with the ball.)
|Figures||Econ rate||Against||Venue and year|
|9-0-67-1||7.44||Australia||Melbourne (Dock), 2005|
|8-0-57-0||7.12||Australia||Port Elizabeth, 2002|
|10-0-67-0||6.70||West Indies||Bridgetown, 2005|
|8-0-49-0||6.12||Australia||Melbourne (Dock), 2005|
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With inputs from Rajesh Kumar.
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