Australia returned to winning form at the 2015 Cricket World Cup with a big victory over Afghanistan in Perth yesterday.
The build-up to the clash was dominated by speculation about the future of Australian number three Shane Watson and the Australian selectors made the surprise call to omit Watson from the side to make space for talented all-rounder James Faulkner.
Australian opener David Warner made sure that the fate of Watson was quickly moved to the back of spectators when he got Australia off to a flying start with a typically explosive performance.
Fellow opener Aaron Finch was unable to cash in on the impeccable batting conditions when he was dismissed for just four, but Warner and Steve Smith did not waste their opportunity and posted 260 for the second wicket – Australia’s highest ever ODI partnership.
Warner looked on track to break Watson’s record for the highest score achieved by an Australian in ODI Cricket, but he was dismissed for 178 in the 38th over and he was soon joined in the pavilion by Smith, who missed out on a century by five runs.
Glenn Maxwell made sure that the run rate did not drop with an exciting 88 runs from just 39 runs and Australia finished with a total of 417 runs to break the record for the highest innings score in World Cup history.
Afghanistan batted conservatively throughout the innings and were eventually dismissed for 142 to suffer the second biggest defeat in the history of ODI Cricket.
Despite Australia’s impressive performance, the majority of the questions asked at the post-game press conference were centered around the decision to lead Watson out of the side.
Clarke said that the makeup of the Australian team going forward would be dictated by the selectors and continued to stress that it would take a strong performance from the overall squad to win the 2015 World Cup for Australia.
“I’ve said before it’s going to take all 15 of us to have success at this World Cup,” Clarke said.
“The selectors have made it pretty clear that that’s the XI they’ve picked for these conditions against this opposition.
“I’m sure they’ll do the same for Sri Lanka at the SCG.
“Whatever XI the selectors give me, my job is to get the best out of them.
“I’m confident with every player in this squad, if they get an opportunity, they’ll grab it with both hands and help the team have success.”
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