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‘Awesome’ David Warner, Mitchell Marsh star as Australia down Pakistan at Cup

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Australia rode on punishing centuries from openers David Warner and Mitchell Marsh to beat Pakistan by 62 runs in their Cricket 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.

“We dropped Warner and such batters don’t spare you. This is a big-scoring ground and we missed our mark.”

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 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 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.

Warner dropped on 10

It was the innings-turning moment when Warner’s miscued shot off Shaheen Shah Afridi ballooned in the air, but Usama Mir — replacing Shadab Khan in the side — let the ball slip between shaking hands.

Warner made the most of his reprieve as he and Marsh hit four boundaries and a six off pacer Haris Rauf’s first over, taking 24 in all.

Australia smashed 82 in the first power-play and completed 200 runs in the 30th over.

Warner completed his second Cup century — and 21st overall — with a single off spinner Mohammad Nawaz off 85 balls while Marsh reached his second ODI hundred with a six in the same over, taking 100 balls.

Ironically, it was Mir who caught Marsh off Shaheen to break the stand in the 34th over.

Glenn Maxwell, sent in at three to keep up the momentum, fell first ball, caught by Babar off Shaheen while Steve Smith was caught and bowled by Mir for seven.

Warner continued the carnage with three more sixes before falling to Rauf, holing out at long-on.

Australia’s previous highest 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.

AFP

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