Age no barrier to Aussie IPL stars
Old stagers Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist have made a mockery of the idea that Twenty20 cricket is a young man's game with their dominance of the Indian Premier League.
The former one-day international opening partners, both 37, were on fire again in their team's latest wins on Sunday AEST, offering further proof that age and retirement have had little effect on their freakish abilities as they outshine some of the game's brightest young stars in South Africa.
Hayden hit a controlled, unbeaten 60 to steer the Chennai Super Kings to a crucial win over the Mumbai Indians in Port Elizabeth to virtually guarantee his side of a semi-finals berth.
Gilchrist, meanwhile, laid the platform for the Deccan Chargers with a quickfire 43 before they just scraped over the line for a six-wicket win over the Kolkata Knight riders in Johannesburg.
Hayden and Gilchrist now sit first and second respectively on the tournament's top run scorer's list.
It was Hayden's fifth half-century in 11 matches, taking the Queenslander to 546 runs for the tournament at an average of 54.60, putting him well ahead of second-placed Gilchrist (372) in the race for the orange cap for the IPL's top scorer.
Young South African star JP Duminy is third with 363 runs.
Both Hayden and Gilchrist have scored their runs in explosive fashion, with strike rates of just over 145.
Hayden's innings on Sunday was his most restrained yet, with his first boundary not coming until the 13th over.
Chasing Mumbai's 5-147, Hayden timed things superbly in the later stages, hitting four boundaries and a six in 57 balls to lead Chennai home with 3-151.
"It's a good win for us," Hayden said.
"It's an important win. We've really been on a roll over the past three weeks."
But the veteran batsman was slightly critical of his own batting, saying: "It's amazing that even with so much experience you can get the strategy wrong."
The Super Kings are still second in the eight-team league, but now only a point behind Delhi Daredevils.
Deccan captain Gilchrist set the platform for his side, while Tirumalsetti Suman added 31, but it took an amazing escape engineered by Rohit Sharma to secure victory.
Needing 21 runs from the last over to overhaul Kolkata's 5-160, Sharma, who ended unbeaten on 32 off just 18 balls, and partner Venugopal Rao shared 26 off woeful pace bowler Mashrafe Mortaza to score a last-run win.
The eight-ball over started with a no-ball boundary and finished with a six.
"I thought we'd blown away another one," Gilchrist said
"But Rohit was fantastic out there today."
The Chargers rose to third with the win.