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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
image courtesy: www.abc.net.au