Hat-trick hero Lee inspires Australia

PACEMAN Brett Lee recorded the first international Twenty20 hat-trick yesterday as Australia coasted to a nine-wicket victory over Bangladesh in their first match of the World Twenty20 Super Eights.

The fast bowler had Shakib Al Hasan caught behind for 16 and then bowled Mashrafe Mortaza and pinned Alok Kapali leg before in successive balls. That left Bangladesh 108 for six - Tamim Iqbal (32) and Aftab Ahmed (31) having made the best scores earlier on - and they eventually closed on 123 for eight.

Lee finished with three for 27 and Nathan Bracken two for 14.

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Despite a shock defeat to Zimbabwe in the group stage, such a total was hardly likely to trouble Australia, the reigning 50-over world champions, and so it proved. Adam Gilchrist was run out in the 12th over for 43, having hit four sixes and one four in just 28 balls, but Matthew Hayden saw them to victory in the 14th over with an unbeaten 73.

The big left-hander smashed three sixes and nine fours in 48 balls and captain Ricky Ponting's pull through midwicket for two brought up the win with 6.1 overs remaining.

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori was the inspiration as his side claimed a ten-run victory over India in Johannesburg.

The 28-year-old saw Craig McMillan and Jacob Oram put together a partnership of 73 for the sixth wicket as the Kiwis reached a competitive total of 190 despite losing all ten wickets in their Super Eight clash. Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag put on 76 before Sehwag was caught by Scott Styris off the bowling of Oram in the sixth over.

But a devastating spell of bowling from Vettori, who claimed the wickets of Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik and Irfan Pathan in quick succession as well as holding a catch to dismiss Harbhajan Singh and running out Indian skipper Mahendra Dhoni, paved the way for victory.

"We did well to put a score up on the board," said Vettori. "It was quite tricky early on, but Craig McMillan and Jacob Oram got us to a total I thought was defendable. After Sehwag and Gambhir started, I wasn't so sure, but we pulled it back in those middle stages and the fielding and bowling was exceptional." Vettori's personal contribution turned the game, but he accepted the plaudits with modesty.

"It's a difficult game for a spinner, particularly with the small boundaries, so you have to be a little bit quicker and invent things at times, and I was lucky enough to get away with it," he said.

Dhoni admitted his side, who finished on 180 for nine had thrown away their chance of winning the game after conceding 88 runs of the last five overs in the face of a fierce assault by McMillan and Oram.

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He said: "They batted really well and the way they scored runs, especially at the death, that was the crucial part of the game. We got a decent start. We could have restricted them to maybe 15 or 20 runs less, but the bowlers didn't bowl too well at the end."

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