Australia rode on punishing centuries from openers David Warner and Mitchell Marsh to beat Pakistan by 62 runs in their World Cup game in Bengaluru on Friday.

Australia’s total of 367-9 was built on Warner’s 163 with Marsh, on his 32nd birthday, hitting 121.

Pakistan were undone by poor bowling and fielding, which saw Warner dropped when he had made just 10.

“It was awesome,” said man of the match Warner. “For us to go out there and put in a performance and a score on the board like that is very pleasing.”

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa then ripped through the middle-order with figures of 4-53 as Pakistan were bowled out for 305 in 45.3 overs, leaving both teams on two wins and as many losses.

Mohammad Rizwan (46) and Saud Shakeel (30) added 57 for the fourth wicket as Pakistan needed 168 from the last 20 overs but Pat Cummins dismissed Saud Shakeel while Zampa accounted for Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed (26) and Mohammad Nawaz (14) to end their resistance.

“The first 34 overs in the bowling and fielding cost us,” admitted Pakistan skipper Babar Azam.

Pakistan were given a solid start of 134 — only their second hundred opening stand this year — by Imam-ul-Haq (70) and Abdullah Shafique (64).

Australia dropped Shafique with substitute Sean Abbott spilling a simple chance over the boundary off Cummins when the opener had made 27 while the skipper then dropped Imam off Zampa when the batsman was on 48.

But Marcus Stoinis’s short-pitched deliveries claimed both the openers within the space of 20 runs while Cummins pulled off a splendid catch at mid-wicket off Adam Zampa to dismiss Babar for 18.

Earlier, Warner and Marsh set up Australia’s imposing total.

Warner survived a leg-before appeal off the very first ball of the match and was then dropped on 10 in the fifth over, before cracking a punishing 124-ball 163 after Australia were sent in to bat on a flat Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch.

Marsh clobbered a 108-ball 121 as the pair raced to an Australian World Cup opening stand record of 259 by the 34th over, much to the delight of a 30,000 crowd.

Warner’s innings had 14 boundaries and nine towering sixes as he and Marsh spared none of the Pakistan bowlers. Marsh’s knock was spiced with ten boundaries and nine sixes.

Their stand — just 23 short of the World Cup opening record of 282 by Sri Lanka’s Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan against Zimbabwe at Pallekele in 2011 — was helped by a weak performance by Pakistan in the field.

Australia’s previous highest World Cup opening stand was 183 set by Brad Haddin and Shane Watson against Canada at this same venue in 2011.

Shaheen, who finished with 5-54, helped Pakistan come back in the last ten overs with six wickets falling for 70 runs. Rauf took 3-83.

Pakistan next face Afghanistan in Chennai on Monday while Australia’s next opponents are the Netherlands in New Delhi two days later.

In a post-match media talk, Babar said that David Warner’s dropped catch was crucial. Warner was dropped by Usama Mir which helped Australia post a massive total.

“It was a costly miss. A batsman like Warner can take you apart if you drop him as early as we did. Some crucial dropped catches pegged us back and helped Australia post a big total,” he said.

Babar also blamed poor bowling upfront and ordinary batting in the middle as reasons for the defeat against Australia.

“We were required to bowl well to start with and middle-order batsmen should have contributed more,” Babar said.


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2023-10-21

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