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Matt bats big and fast

When Hayden blitzkrieged South Africa on the way to the fastest hundred in World Cup history

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Matthew Hayden acknowleges the cheers after blasting the fastest World Cup hundred, Australia v South Africa, Group A, St Kitts, March 24, 2007
With this bat, I do thee flay © AFP
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Matthew Hayden
101 v South Africa, 2007

South Africa had put on big displays of power-hitting against the minnows before they came up against Australia in St Kitts and got a serious taste of their own medicine.

Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist went hell for leather from the get go, hurtling to a hundred partnership in less than 15 overs and setting up a platform from where the middle order could wade into the bowling. Gilchrist went after a run-a-ball 42 but Hayden had just warmed up. He had had a disappointing tournament in 2003 and was looking to make amends. He had come into the 2007 event with a broken toe, but there was no sign of any discomfort from it as he muscled the bowling around the park for 101 off just 68 balls, with 14 fours and four sixes, to record the quickest hundred in all World Cups. The three-figure mark was raised off only 66 deliveries, beating the 67 set by John Davison of Canada against West Indies in 2003.

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. His forceful strokes back down the pitch were enough for the bowlers to adjust their line and length, but when the ball was short or a bit wide it was merrily biffed through point. Against Shaun Pollock, who pitched it up and was easier to drive, 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.

With the knock, Gilchrist and Hayden also became the most successful opening pair in World Cups in terms of aggregate, going past Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs.

Hayden's hundred was so convincing it swayed the people of St Kitts into making him one of their own: Hayden was also granted honorary St Kitts citizenship and a life membership of the Royal St Kitts Golf Club.

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

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