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April 22, 2007
Matthew Hayden has taken aim at South Africa before Wednesday's semi-final by saying they are still intimidated by Australia. Hayden noticed the familiar feeling during the 83-run win over Graeme Smith's side during the group phase and put it down to Australia's sustained success against them.
While Ricky Ponting's squad lost the last head-to-head one-day competition, Australia have not been beaten in a Test series since South Africa's international return in 1992. Ponting has also spoken over the past week of South Africa's poor record in major matches.
"Last time we played better than them and you could tell by the looks on their faces they were intimidated by us," Hayden said in the Sunday Mail. The fielders did have a reasonable reason to be unnerved that day as Hayden belted the World Cup's fastest century during his 101 off 68 balls as Australia reached 6 for 377.
"I definitely sensed that," he said. "It is an edge which came from many years of beating them. It was just body language. You could feel that they could feel it." South Africa finished fourth after the Super Eights while Hayden made sure Australia remained unbeaten with his third hundred of the competition against New Zealand on Friday.
Hayden has joined Mark Waugh and Sourav Ganguly with the most centuries in the same World Cup and he now has 580 runs at 82.85. He said there was no mystery to his success. "There's no replacing hard work," he told AFP.
"We've worked very hard throughout the summer on our one-day game and all elements of our game. It's no surprise that we are here at a World Cup at the height of our games. We are looking forward now to the next two games. All of what we've been able to achieve means nothing if we don't go all the way."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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