Perth: Australia got their ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign back on track with a thumping 275-run victory over Afghanistan at the WACA, Perth, the biggest-ever margin of victory in terms of runs in World Cups, and the second-largest overall in One-Day Internationals (ODI). The result was never in doubt, but the big margin will certainly blend in a lot of confidence for Australia, who are coming off a rained-off game and a defeat to New Zealand. Afghanistan were tested on the WACA surface and were clearly outplayed by a superior side. Nevertheless, there were many lessons to learn from this experience. Full Scorecard: Australia vs Afghanistan ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
Mohammad Nabi had won the toss and elected to bowl first, to the surprise of many. However, the bigger surprise was the non-inclusion of Shane Watson. James Faulkner was fit and ready to be picked and Watson made way. Then, there was the inclusion of Josh Hazlewood, who came in place of the injured Pat Cummins. Over-by-Over Updates: Australia vs Afghanistan ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
If one keeps the initial Dawlat Zadran spell, Afghanistan had a tough day chasing leather. David Warner was merciless during his innings of 178 and looked good to score a double. Perhaps the Afghanistan pacers, got a big carried away and bowled a bit too short to him. Warner’s response was to smash it across the line. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: POINTS TABLE
At the other end, Steven Smith was patient during his innings of 95 and kept the innings together as the other batsmen made merry. Glenn Maxwell smashed a 39-ball 88 as the reverse-sweeps, flicks and the cheeky shots came into play during his belligerent innings. Australia were unstoppable during their innings and powered to 417 for six in their 50 overs. It is now the highest score in World Cup history and also the highest one-day total on Australian soil. Afghanistan’s impressive bowling had a tough day. Shapoor Zadran went for 89 in his 10 overs for two scalps. It all went awry for Dawlat after his initial spell as he conceded over 100 and Hamid Hassan was taken for 70 runs. Mohammed Nabi was also taken for 84 runs in his 10 overs. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: SCHEDULE & MATCH DETAILS
Afghanistan were never in the game thereafter. The pace of Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson proved too strong for them as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. There were only a few highlights for them during the innings. Nawroz Mangal’s consecutive sixes of Mitchell Marsh and Najibullah Zadran’s towering hit over long-on were the few feel-good moments for then. Perhaps, the biggest talking point was Nabi’s dismissal. He opted for a review when he was given out caught while attempting a sweep. He indicated to his partner that it came off the arm. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage
Replays showed that there was a deflection as it passed the bat, but the snickometre showed nothing. Ultimately, they were bowled out for 142.
Australia get their campaign back on track, with the endeavour to finish somewhere around the top of the group. On the other hand, Afghanistan go back to the drawing board after picking up vital lessons. Remember, though they are amongst the most impressive teams amongst the Associates, they still have a lot to learn at the highest level. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Pool-wise Team Standings
Australia 417 for 6 in 50 overs (David Warner 178, Steven Smith 95, Glenn Maxwell 88; Shapoor Zadran 2 for 89) beat Afghanistan 142 in 37.3 overs (Nawroz Mangal 33; Mitchell Johnson 4 for 22) by 275 runs.
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