Afghanistan was no match against the Aussies and the hosts dominated every single moment of the match no. 26 of the ICC #CWC15 against Afghanistan.
David Warner, with a volley of stunning strokes, blazed his way to compose a wondrous innings of 178 in a mere 133 balls and helped Australia to reach a monstrous score on the board. Glenn Maxwell too with his majestic brilliance amassed a magnificent knock. Warner’s innings turned out to be the highest individual score by an Australian in World Cups. He and Steven Smith also stitched the highest partnership for any wicket for Australia in ODIs.
To put the icing on the cake, Australia’s total of 417 for 6 is now the highest score in World Cups. It was an innings where Warner took full advantage of anything that was banged in short and when the seamers bowled a fuller length, he hammered it down the ground.
In short, Warner made what seemed like a decent pace attack on paper look utterly pedestrian. After Dawlat Zadran generated a bit of swing and snared the wicket of Aaron Finch, Warner took over by mercilessly thwacking Afghanistan’s seamers. Hamid Hassan, who tested the middle of the pitch, was duly punished by Warner as he used the cut and the pull to good effect.
Once Warner reached his century, with his breathtaking fluency, he floored the opposition ranks into submission. He smashed Dawlat and his new ball partner, Shapoor Zadran, for fours and sixes. In particular, the way he thumped a half volley off Shapoor’s bowling over the long-on region for a six in the 32nd over of the innings, gave a glimpse of his exceptional bat-speed. Once Warner was dismissed, Maxwell with his brilliance stunned the opposition into silence as well. Afghanistan didn’t help their cause by bowling a slew of full tosses and Maxwell took heavy toll of it.
To their credit, the seamers looked to bowl the yorker, but as soon as they missed it, Maxwell would hoick it across the line. He then, started to toy with the lengths of Afghanistan’s pacers, and played a jaw-dropping reverse sweep and it turned out to be a six. In fact, Maxwell smashed a crunching fifty in just 21 balls. It was the joint third fastest fifty in World Cups.
Unfortunately for Afghanistan, it continued to rain fours and sixes from Maxwell’s willow and when Shapoor bowled one on the pads, with a mere flick of the wrists, he clobbered it for six. In all this mayhem, one has to also remember that Smith played with a mature head on his shoulders to compile a fine knock of 95.
For Afghanistan, Dawlat gave a good account of himself with the new ball by pitching it up though, he came in for some severe punishment in the end overs. Other seamers weren’t up to the mark either. It was also interesting to see that Afghanistan’s off-spinners didn’t use the arm ball extensively. With the south-west breeze coming into play, an off-spinner can get it to hold it up in the air. Afghanistan perhaps would rue the fact that they decided to bowl first. It also has to be said that Afghanistan’s fielding was average.
Aussie bowlers kept taking wickets at regular intervals as the Afghanistan’s batsmen failed to get any partnership going. Johnson was terrific as he grabbed four wickets while Starc and Hazlewood got two each captain Clarke bowled as well and chipped in with a wicket too. It was a superb all-round performance as Australia were too good with the bat, ball and field. Afghanistan tried their best but they were completely outplayed by a strong side.
David Warner was adjudged man of the match for this one sided game against Afghanistan.
Austraila 417 for 6 in 50 overs
Afghanistan 142 for 10 in 37.3 overs