Perth, March 4 (IANS) Opener David Warner (178) became Australia’s highest scorer in cricket World Cup history to power the hosts to the quadrennial event’s highest total — 417/6 — during a Pool A match against minnows Afghanistan at the WACA here on Wednesday.
Opener Aaron Finch (4) perished early in the third over against pacer Dawlat Zadran (2/101) with the score at 14. Afterwards, Warner and Steven Smith (95) put up 260-run second-wicket partnership, their highest in One-Day International (ODI) cricket beating Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson’s unbeaten stand of 252 against England in 2009.
Warner’s fourth ODI century also became the highest score by an Australian in Cup history, bettering former left-handed opener Matthew Hayden’s 158 against the West Indies in 2007.
The left and right hand combination smashed the hapless Afghanistan bowlers all around the park and upped the ante after scoring half-centuries. Warner got his fifty in 40 balls while his hundred came in 92 balls.
He went berserk after reaching the three figure mark as his next 78 runs came in just 41 deliveries. During his 133-ball knock, the 28-year-old hit an incredible 19 fours and five sixes. When he got out to Shapoor Zadran (2/89), Australia were at 274/2 in the 38th over.
Smith, 25, played a perfect foil to the aggressive left-hander. Playing risk-free cricket, he scored eight fours and a six to register his fourth half-century.
Even after dismissing the duo, Afghanistan’s agony didn’t end.
Big-hitting Glenn Maxwell raced away to 39-ball 88 as he smashed seven sixes and six fours. Wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin (20 not out in nine balls) helped the four-time World Champions to go past the highest World Cup total of 413/5, recorded by India against Bermuda in 2007.
Australia added 118 runs in the final 10 overs thanks to Maxwell’s pyrotechnics.
For Cup debutants Afghanistan, Dawlat leaked 101 runs in 10 overs and took two wickets. Seamer Shapoor gave away 89 runs in 10 overs and bagged the wickets of Smith and Warner. Nawroz Mangal and Hamid Hassan scalped a wicket apiece.
Brief scores: Australia 417/6 in 50 overs (David Warner 178, Steven Smith 95, Glenn Maxwell 88; Shapoor Zadran 2/89, Dawlat Zadran 2/101) vs Afghanistan.