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Easy wins for Australia, New Zealand


Easy wins for Australia, New Zealand

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BRISTOL – David Warner and Steve Smith returned to international cricket on Saturday to see Australia through to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in their World Cup opener at Bristol’s County Ground.

Warner top-scored with an unbeaten 89 while Smith made 18 as Australia easily chased down a modest target after Afghanistan, who won the toss and elected to bat, were bowled out for 207.

The pair was back for its first official One-Day International after year-long bans following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

Australia, whose captain Aaron Finch contributed 66 runs off 49 balls, reached 209 for three in the 35th over, ensuring a winning start to the defence of their World Cup crown.

Meanwhile, New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill says their pace attack has forged a blueprint they will seek to follow for the rest of the World Cup after dismantling the Sri Lankan batting order in in Cardiff.

Kiwis fast bowlers Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson took three wickets each as the pair made full use of seamer-friendly conditions in the opening hour to spark a batting collapse as Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 136 on the way to losing by 10 wickets.

Guptill and Colin Munro made light work of the chase but it was the pace attack that could make a difference as New Zealand bid to go one better after losing to Australia in the 2015 final. (Reuters)

Summarised scores:

Sri Lanka 136 in 29.2 overs (Dimuth Karunaratne 52, Kusal Perera 29, Thisara Perera 27; Lockie Ferguson 3-22, Matt Henry 3-29). New Zealand 137-0 in 16.1 overs (Martin Guptill 73 n.o., Colin Munro 58 n.o.). New Zealand won by ten wickets with 203 balls remaining.

Afghanistan 207 in 34.5 overs (Najibullah Zadran 51, Rahmat Shah 43, Hashmatullah Shahidi 18, Majeeb ur Rahman 13; Pat Cummins 3-40, Adam Zampa 3-60, Marcus Stoinis 2-37). Australia 209-3 in 34.5 overs (David Warner 89, Aaron Finch 66, Steve Smith 17, Usman Khawaja 15). Australia won by seven wickets with 91 balls remaining.