Lee hat-trick sets up thrashing

Australia strolled to an easy nine wicket win over Bangladesh after a near perfect all-round performance from the tournament favourites.

Solid fast paced bowling from Australia after winning the toss and electing to field showed that the Aussies had no plans of being stung by a lesser side for the second time in the championship.

Good intelligent deliveries from Johnson, Lee, Bracken and Clark together with lethargic batting from the Bangladesh top order ensured the Tigers never really got their innings going. Whereas the previous day against South Africa they came out firing with some spectacular stroke play, today saw a vastly different Bangladesh; more cautious and indecisive with a distinct inability to find the boundaries and pierce the Australian field placings.

Nazimuddin was the first Bangladesh batsman to go in the seventh over when Ricky Ponting managed a difficult catch on second attempt at cover off Mitchell Johnson’s bowling. Nazimuddin had a stagnant innings which really set the tone for the rest of his side, only managing 11 off 17 deliveries.

Part-timer Michael Clarke struck not long after when Ponting took another catch to dismiss Tamim Iqbal for 32 off 40 balls and Stuart Clark had danger man Mohammad Ashraful out for just seven in no time as well. Clark bowled beautifully with nagging line and length which never gave the batsmen any comfort at all.

Another feature of the Bangladesh innings were their inability to take advantage of free hits, particularly two in a row off Johnson and a couple that were caught in the deep.

It was Lee however who provided the fireworks in the 17th over with a spectacular hat-trick that ripped the heart through the Bangladesh middle order. He had Shakib Al Hasan out for 16, caught behind by wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist, Mashrafe Mortaza bowled out, off stump for naught and Alok Kapali gone LBW to give him the first ever Twenty20 International hat-trick.

High class death bowling from Nathan Bracken in the final over saw him take two wickets in two deliveries, Aftab Ahmed who managed 31 off 34 and Farhad Reza who scored a slow 4, coming from 13 deliveries. Both going to very fine outfield catches by the Australians, one in particular from Brad Hodge had the crowd on their feet.

It was a clinical effort from the Australians, managing to limit the Bangladesh score to just 123 for the loss of eight wickets from their 20 overs.

Australia’s response was, again, clinical. Openers Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist had little trouble with the Bangladesh bowling as they took their time to asses the pitch and conditions before putting on a destructive display of power hitting.

Both Australian batsmen put on a flawless exhibit of batting with the only chance given by Adam Gilchrist in the first over when he was put down at slips on the way to a 100 run opening partnership which was brought up in the 12 over before Gilchrist was eventually run out.

Gilchrist’s rapid 43 came in 28 balls and included one four and four powerful sixes. Hayden saw Australia home together with captain Ricky Ponting in just the 14th over to win by nine wickets and a valuable net run rate advantage.

Hayden played a near perfect innings of 73 off 48 deliveries, showing little concern with the Bangladesh bowling attack. He hit nine fours and six sixes in a commanding knock that showed a return to his limited over form that had him named the ICC ODI player of the Year less than a week ago.

Australia next take on Pakistan on Tuesday at Johannesburg going in full of confidence. The pain doesn’t let up for Bangladesh, after playing South Africa and Australia back to back, they must now face the might of Sri Lanka, also in Johannesburg on Tuesday in what might be their toughest assignment to date.

Bangladesh 123/8
Tamim Iqbal 32, Aftab Ahmed 31
Brett Lee 3-27, Nathan Bracken 2-14

Australia 124/1
Matthew Hayden 73*, Adam Gilchrist 43

Australia won by nine wickets
Cricket Web Man of the Match: Brett Lee

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