Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Aaron Finch vs Matthew Hayden

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Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Aaron Finch vs Matthew Hayden

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Anirudh Suresh

03/20/2020

We’ve had fights that have had a lot at stake, we’ve had fights between craftsmen of the sport but in terms of stature, well, nothing has matched what you’re about to witness. Welcome to the March 20 edition of ‘Friday Fights’ and today, it’s the battle of the units - Aaron Finch vs Matthew Hayden.

It’s genuinely a shame that we never got to witness Matthew Hayden and Aaron Finch bat together. I mean, could you imagine being a bowler, running into bowl to these two absolute monsters who look like they’ll eat you for dinner? Perhaps the laws of this universe demand that only one ‘unit’ can exist in a particular batting line-up, in order to preserve the species called bowlers. Either way, what we can, however, do is virtually simulate and see how these two would have fared if they ever had a one-to-one bought in a boxing ring. Sounds gruelling, doesn’t it? So, without further ado, LET’S GET READY TO WITNESS THE RUMBLE!

ROUND 1 -> CAREER AVERAGE: Hayden lands the first punch

And the 6 ft 1 giant from Kingaroy, Queensland, STRIKES FIRST!  Finch, with an overall career average of 41.02, thinks he’s on the front-foot, but WHACK, Hayden’s jab - which he delivered with a speed of 43.8 kmph - rocks the Victorian back. 

Matthew Hayden - 10  Aaron Finch - 8

ROUND 2 -> AVERAGE IN FOREIGN CONDITIONS: Hayden follows first jab up with a brutal one-two

We all knew that apart from cricket, Hayden killed it when it comes to surfing, but it looks like he’s mastered the art of boxing too. The left-hander delivers a BRUTAL one-two to the face of Finch as his average in away conditions - 43.12 - eats the right-hander’s numbers of 39.86 alive. 

Matthew Hayden - 10  Aaron Finch - 8

ROUND 3 -> AVERAGE IN HOME CONDITIONS: A sluggish round but the Queenslander goes 3-0

Did they mix something in the drinks of both players in the break during the rounds? Clearly, that could be the only explanation for the dozy showing of these two in the third round. I, in fact, expected this to be fierce. Nevertheless, Hayden’s average at home of 39.09, albeit being not-so-great, is more than enough to outpower Finch, who clearly hates being quarantined at home - an average of 36.41. 

Matthew Hayden - 10  Aaron Finch - 7

ROUND 4 -> AVERAGE IN NEUTRAL VENUES: Finch rises from the Ashes to deliver a thumping uppercut

‘The Test’ documentary showed us just how mentally strong Finch is and he has picked exactly the right time to summon up his mental toughness. BAMMM, a brutal uppercut in the form of his neutral ODI average of 53.36 completely catches a cocky Hayden off guard, who just couldn’t believe that someone can better the 52.24 he managed to stock up in his 15-year long career.

Matthew Hayden - 9  Aaron Finch - 10

ROUND 5 -> AVERAGE IN MAJOR TOURNAMENTS: Haydos bullies Finchy to wrestle back the initiative

I guess Finch just realized what he’s gotten himself into. He throws FOUR PUNCHES IN A ROW, but Haydos blocks every single one of them and responds with a hook right to the Victorian’s face. Hayden’s 49.87 in ICC tournaments is almost 8 better than Finch’s 42. The Victorian, for a moment, thought he had done enough. Haydos is a man for the big occasion and he is proving it today.

Matthew Hayden - 10  Aaron Finch - 8

ROUND 6 -> STRIKE RATE: Finch floors Hayden with a right-cross out of nowhere

OH WE DID NOT SEE THIS COMING! This is as much a battle of ego as it is power, what we’re witnessing here. Having won FOUR of the first FIVE rounds, Hayden stops for a while and taunts Finch who is gasping for breath, but the Victorian, just like he did in Ranchi 2019, comes up with an absolutely thunderous right-cross out of nowhere to FLOOR HAYDEN! “78.96 is all you’ve got? Well, TAKE MY 88.71” says Finch. 

Matthew Hayden - 7  Aaron Finch - 10

ROUND 7-> 50 TO 100 CONVERSIONS (in %):  Finch edges ahead for the first time

Oh, oh, oh. The big man from Queensland looks clearly rattled by the blow in round 6, and, realizing it, Finch lands YET ANOTHER elephantine punch to really rock Hayden back. His fifty to hundred conversion rate of 38.09 is almost twice as good as Hayden’s 21.73. Talk about making your starts count. 

Matthew Hayden - 7  Aaron Finch - 10

ROUND 8 -> NO OF FIFTY-PLUS SCORES WITH 120+ STRIKE RATE: Three rounds in a row for Aaron Freakin Finch!

WE DID NOT SEE THIS COMING! ANOTHER ROUND, ANOTHER VICTORY FOR AARON FINCH. Hayden’s tally of four fifty-plus scores with a strike rate over 120 is good, but it still comes second-best in front of the Victorian’s 5. A FIVE-STAR RUN FROM FINCH, THIS!

Matthew Hayden - 9  Aaron Finch - 10

ROUND 9 -> PERCENTAGE OF FIFTIES IN WINNING CAUSES: Hayden counters with a remarkable hook

No, no, no. You never count Matthew Hayden down. You never do. This is a man who finished as the highest run-getter in World Cups at 36 years of age and won Orange Cap in the IPL at 38 years of age. What makes you think that he can’t bounce back in a boxing bout at 48? After absorbing three rounds of pounding, the southpaw decides he’s had enough and connects one sweetly right to the Victorian’s nose. Finch’s number of 65.38% is no match to Hayden’s 75%. Sanity restored. 

Matthew Hayden - 10  Aaron Finch - 9

ROUND 10 -> PERCENTAGE OF HUNDREDS IN WINNING CAUSES: Haydos mercilessly mauls Finch with relentless punches

LOOKS LIKE FINCH HAS AWOKEN THE BEST INSIDE HAYDEN! After the brutal ninth round, Hayden has figured that with momentum on his side, this is his chance to potentially put the fight to bed. A deadly left uppercut, right uppercut and right hook combination STUN Finch, who is mighty relieved to see the bell go. That might have been it had it lasted for 15 more seconds, you know. Hayden has crazily scored 80% of his hundreds in winning causes as compared to Finch’s 62.5%. CRAZYYYY!

Matthew Hayden - 10  Aaron Finch - 9

Round 11 -> NUMBER OF FIFTY-PLUS SCORES IN SUCCESSFUL CHASES: Finch is at Hayden’s mercy

OH THE CONTEST COULD HAVE EASILY ENDED HERE! But Hayden lets Finch live another day. With his 14 fifty-plus scores in successful chases, the 48-year-old is literally one punch away from knocking Finch - who has 11 fifty-plus scores to his name in the same scenario - but he lets the Victorian go to settle things in the last round. Goodness me, isn’t that scary?

Matthew Hayden - 10  Aaron Finch - 9

FINAL ROUND -> AVERAGE IN ICC KNOCKOUT MATCHES: MATTHEW HAYDEN KNOCKS AARON FINCH OUT!

THAT IS IT! IT’S ALL OVER! WE HAVE A WINNER!  With an average of just 27.66 in knockout matches of ICC events, Hayden’s final punch is pretty weak and inaccurate, but it is more than enough to knockout Finch, whose average of 20.75 isn’t sufficient to bail him out of inevitable defeat.  

Matthew Hayden - 10  Aaron Finch - 7

WINNER BY TECHNICAL KNOCKOUT  -  MATTHEW HAYDEN

FINAL SCORE: HAYDEN 112-105 FINCH

Well, did I not warn you before the bout began? That was GRUELLING. Phew the ring would need some rest after accommodating these two beasts at the same time. What a fight it was! And as we learned, even at 48, Hayden is right up there as one amongst the best and he - and his legacy - is evergreen indeed. Hard luck for Finch, though. He did throw everything he had, but on the day, it was just not good enough to down a unit like Haydos. That brings an end to this week’s edition of ‘Friday Fights’. We will we back with yet another enthralling battle next week, but until then, stay safe, stay home and stay isolated. 

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