Bristol, June 2: Riding on brilliant innings of David Warner (89 runs off 114 balls) and Aaron Finch (66 runs off 49 balls), Australia beat Afghanistan comfortably by 7 wickets in the World Cup match here at the County Ground on Saturday.
Chasing a target of 208 runs for victory, Australia were off to a solid and steady start. The opening duo of Warner-Finch scored 55 runs at the end of 10 overs. Playing his first international match for Australia after a long time, David Warner took his time to settle down and initially batted cautiously in the innings.
On the other hand, his partner Finch continued to carry his great from and dominated the Afghanistan bowlers. Finch hammerd 66 off 48 balls before getting out to Mujeeb at the score of 96 in 17th over. After Finch's departure, Warner took the responsibility and kept on scoring from one end. He stitched important partnership with Smith and Khwaja and guided Australia to a comfortable 7 wicket win over Afghanistan.
For Afghanistan, Gulbadin Naib, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan took one wicket each. Earlier, Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat first but had a poor start. Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins picked early wickets of openers Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai for a duck in the first and second over.
After the openers' dismissal, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Rahmat Shah put up a brave effort and went on to add 51 runs stand for third wicket. But Shahidi fell to Zampa after being stumped by Carey in the 14th over. Shahidi scored 18 off 34 balls which included 3 fours.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and never had the control on the game. However, some late flourish by Rashid Khan 27 off 11 and Mujeeb Ur Rahman 13 off 9 in the end took Afghanistan score to a decent total of 207 all out in 38.2 overs in the opening match against Australia in the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Najibullah Zadran (51) was the top scorer for Afghanistan and Pat Cummins 3/40, Zampa 3/60, Stoinis 2/37 and Starc 1/31 were the wicket takers for Australia. David Warner was declared Man of the match for his great innings. (UNI)