Warner’s 133-ball 178 was the highest score by an Australian in World Cup history. He shared a 260-run second-wicket partnership with Steven Smith (95), their highest in One-Day International (ODI) cricket, to drive the four-time World Cup winners to 417/6. Glenn Maxwell fired 88 in 39 balls.
In reply to the monumental target, Afghanistan were bowled out for 142 in 37.3 overs. They crumbled against the pace bowling trio of Mitchell Johnson (4/22), Mitchell Starc (2/18) and Josh Hazzlewood (2/25). Maxwell also bagged a wicket.
For Afghanistan, Nawroz Mangal (33) and Najibullah Zadran (24) showed some resistance but to no avail.
The 275-run victory is Australia’s biggest while batting first in ODI history. With this win, Michael Clarke-led Australia registered their second victory in the tournament, while the Afghans succembed to their third loss in four matches.
Earlier, opener Aaron Finch (4) perished early in the third over against pacer Dawlat Zadran (2/101) with the score at 14. Australia dropped senior all-rounder Shane Watson from their playing XI in favour of left-arm bowling all-rounder James Faulkner, who made a comeback following an injury.
It forced Smith to come up the order and flourished in his new role in style. He joined Warner and they put up Australia’s highest partnership for any wicket, beating former captain 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 Maxwell raced away to 39-ball 88 as the 26-year-old smashed seven sixes and six fours.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin (20 not out in nine balls) helped Australia 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. 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) beat Afghanistan 142 in 37.3 overs (Nawroz Mangal 33; Mitchell Johnson 4/22, Mitchell Starc 2/18, Josh Hazzlewood 2/25). (IANS)