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Canada crumble under Oz heat

cricket Updated: Mar 17, 2011 01:32 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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Hiral Patel idolises Virender Sehwag and is keen on a career in the armed forces. This gives a fair idea of what to expect from the Canada opener.

The Australians, however, looked stunned as the 19-year-old made their feared pace attack look amateurish on Wednesday. He caught them unawares by plundering 16 runs off Brett Lee in the second over of the innings, and followed it up by smashing a 148 kmph thunderbolt from Shaun Tait over the extra cover boundary in the next over.

That was the beginning of what turned out to be a highly entertaining half-century from the youngster. The harder the trio of Tait, Lee and Mitchell Johnson charged in to rein him in, the farther they were hit by the fearless opener. His aggression saw Canada fly to 50 in just 4.4 overs, the fastest in the World Cup, a record Australia won't cherish much.

The brilliant start, however, didn't yield the result it should have. Neither could Canada amass an imposing total, after cruising at 150 for 2 in the 29th over, nor could they cause an upset in their last outing of the Cup, as Australia won comfortably by seven wickets.

That Canada were bowled out for a modest 211 after such a great start could be put down to inexperience in building the innings and the inability of the middle and lower order to handle raw pace. Once the top order perished, they caved in to allow Australia win back lost ground.

As for Australia, the comprehensive victory would have left them with mixed feelings. While the treatment the pace battery received from Patel would leave them a bit concerned, the ferocious batting display by openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin would have gladdened hearts.

The two were slow to start with, but once they broke free in the batting Powerplay in the 20th over, there was just no stopping them. The boundaries and sixes flowed incessantly and by the time they departed, within the space of five balls, Haddin for 88 and Watson for 94, they had stitched together the highest opening partnership for Australia in the World Cup (183 runs).

The late charge mounted by the Australia openers was as savage as it could get, but the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the Hiral Patel show.