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World Cup 2019: Defending champions Australia begin WC campaign with 7-wicket win against Afghanistan

Pavan Suresh
02 Jun 2019, 00:31 IST

Afghanistan v Australia - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Afghanistan v Australia - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Australia began the defense of their World Cup crown in style, defeating Afghanistan by 7 wickets at the County Ground, Bristol.

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib won the toss and decided to bat first. However, they got off to a disastrous start as Mitchell Starc dismissed Mohammad Shahzad off the 3rd ball of the match.

Pat Cummins then dismissed the other opener Hazratullah Zazai to leave Afghanistan reeling. Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi steadied the innings to take Afghanistan to 37 for 2 after the end of 10 overs.

Shah and Shahidi looked to play positively, adding 51 runs for the 3rd wicket. However, Adam Zampa got the important breakthrough, dismissing Shahidi for 18. Rahmat followed suit, falling to Zampa for 43 as Afghanistan were reduced to 77 for 5.

Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran then took the attack to the Aussie bowlers. Najibullah reached his fifty off 46 balls but just when Afghanistan looked like they were getting a foothold in the match, Marcus Stoinis dismissed both Naib and Zadran in the same over.

Rashid Khan then came to the crease and scored a quickfire 27 off 11 balls. However, Afghanistan were eventually bowled out for 207 in 38.2 overs. For Australia, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa took 3 wickets each, while Marcus Stoinis scalped 2 and Mitchell Starc picked 1.

Chasing 208, Aaron Finch got Australia off to a blistering start, reaching his half-century off 40 balls. David Warner was content to play second fiddle for the most part as Australia cruised towards the target. However, Gulbadin Naib soon struck, dismissing the Australian captain for 66.

Warner though took charge and reached his fifty off 74 balls. Steve Smith arrived at the crease at the fall of Usman Khawaja's wicket and looked confident in his brief 18-run stay. He was eventually dismissed by Mujeeb Ur Rahman following which Glenn Maxwell hit the winning runs and helped Australia register a thumping 7-wicket win with 91 balls to spare.

Also read - Highest team total in world cup

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