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ICC World Cup 2019: Match 4, Afghanistan vs Australia – Who Said What

Warner was more happy with the team's victory.

Aaron Finch
Aaron Finch. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Australia have started their World Cup title defence with a comprehensive win over Afghanistan at the County Ground in Bristol. David Warner was the star player for them as he anchored the small but tricky chase to remain unbeaten on 89. Even Steve Smith got the feel of things batting at number four and the duo batted together for more than 10 overs adding 49 runs to announce their comeback together officially.

Chasing a moderate total of 208 runs, Australia got off to a brilliant start courtesy Aaron Finch, their skipper. He attacked Mujeeb Ur Rahman in his first couple of overs and got going straight away. Hamid Hassan impressed with his tight lines but he didn’t get the required support from the other end. Finch got to his half-century in a jiffy even as Warner struggled early on and even played a couple of maidens.

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However, as Finch was dismissed by Gulbadin Naib, the southpaw took control of the proceedings and constructed a wonderful knock. Usman Khawaja failed to make an impact but with Steve Smith coming in next, not much damage was done. The chase was always on track. With only three runs needing, Smith got out and then Glenn Maxwell completed the formalities as Australia got two most important points on the board.

Rahmat and Najib put up a fight

Earlier in the day, Afghanistan opted to bat first and lost both their openers in the first couple of overs itself. But then Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi batted bravely and weathered the storm. The duo played some exquisite strokes as well. Rahmat’s shots were a delight to the eyes even as the duo added 51 runs for the third wicket. Adam Zampa broke the stand by getting Shahidi out and suddenly Afghanistan were reduced to 77/5.

This is where the skipper Naib and Najibullah Zadran joined hands to keep Australia at bay for the next 13 overs or so. The latter attacked to keep the crowd entertained and also smashed a half-century as the Asian side looked good to cross the 200-run mark easily. But once the 83-run partnership was broken, Afghanistan crumbled quickly and they crossed 200 only due to Rashid Khan‘s fireworks. He scored 27 off just 11 balls as they were bowled out for 207 runs in the 39th over and the score eventually didn’t prove to be enough.

Man of the Match, David Warner said:

Great win and we hope to keep the ball rolling. I think there were some nerves getting to the training and then coming out today. Got relaxed once Finchy started to get going. The way I started out today, I had to take time to move my feet and get my head into position, considering that I had only played T20 cricket over the last one year.

Us batters like to see that (some help for the bowlers). Need to keep our nerves and look to see through that period. It’s a different contrast from the team back then (in 2015). There was more experience at that point but this squad also has great energy in it.

Australia captain, Aaron Finch said:

There’s always a bit of nerves. Guys have been building up for this since a month now. Good to get a win and to get the on-field nerves away. Wickets in the Powerplay are key for any side. Got a couple early and then they played well actually. A run out and a couple of wickets helped. Did lose it a bit at the end but overall, we did well.

(On his wicket) Yeah, it felt good to get some runs and that was probably a ball that I was waiting for, hence got a bit frustrated.

(On Warner’s return) Extremely important. He was struggling initially but he hung on. It was always going to be difficult for the new batsman, so he got stuck in and then got rewarded.

(Did they think about NRR) In such situations, it’s important not to get too far ahead. They have some world class spinners, so if you take things for granted, you’re playing with fire.

Afghanistan captain, Gulbadin Naib said:

They are a champion side, so you cannot afford to make any mistakes against them. Since we didn’t have a good start, we were on the back foot but Rahmat and Nabi tried to repair things. But their pacers at good speeds kept pegging us back.

Good to see our fast bowlers doing well, especially Hamid. I am hoping that upcoming pitches offer some more help for the spinners. Maybe towards the middle of the tournament. Still, I would credit Rashid and Mujeeb for the way they bowled on these tracks.

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