Warner, Finch fifties power Australia to seven-wicket win

AUS vs AFG LIVE Score, ICC World Cup 2019: Catch live updates from the World Cup match between Australia and Afghanistan at the County Ground in Bristol.

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Finch and Warner got Australia's run chase off to a solid start.   -  getty images

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of today's World Cup 2019 match between Australia and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan rode on Zadran's fifty and Rashid's cameo to reach 207. But Warner and Finch made light work of the chase with twin half-centuries as Australia cruised to a seven-wicket win; Warner remained unbeaten on 89.

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Rashid Khan continues. Warner begins the over with a quick double. Follows it up with a single. The duo has focussed on ones and twos in this partnership. Five from it. Smith holes out with just three needed to win! Mujeeb gets a wicket. Glen Maxwell is in next. He finishes it

Mujeeb is back into the attack. Outside edge off Smith races away to the third-man fence for four. Eight from it. Australia now needs 20 to win.  Three runs from Dawlat's next over.  Mujeeb to continue. Eight off it. Australia now nine away from victory.

Hamid Hassan to continue. Just two off it. Rashid, from the other end, into his seventh over.  Dawlat Zadran back into the attack. Warner collects two braces before smashing an overpitched delivery past the bowler for four. Nine from the over. AUS 180/2 after 30 overs.

David Warner and Steve Smith are being jeered by certain sections of the crowd.  Afghanistan have reviewed a lbw call against Warner. Replays show the ball hitting the glove. Warner survives. AUS 164/2 after 27 overs.

Rashid continues to leak runs, Warner gets one away to fine leg. LBW! Khawaja has been trapped in front and Australia have lost a second wicket. Steve Smith joins David Warner.  Hamid Hassan back into the attack. Only from it. 5-2-14-0: Hassan's figures so far.

Rashid Khan back into the attack. Warner brings up his half-century with a square cut for four. He got there in 74 balls. Six from the over. Nabi continues. Khawaja brings up the 150 with a single. Warner at the other end plays out four dots. AUS 150/1 after 24 overs.

Nabi back into the attack. Sloppy work from Shahzad behind the stumps: gifts Australia five wides.  Naib back into the attack. Warner cuts and cuts fine for four more. 13 off the over. Nabi continues. Starts by conceding five wides ... Khawaja makes the most of a leg-side delivery, gets four. 12 off it. AUS 142/1 after 22 overs.

Warner takes Australia past the 100-run mark with a late cut for four. Five from that Rashid Khan over.  Naib to continue after drinks... Warner gets a boundary at last, but not without some help from the fine leg fielder who made a mess of it. Six off the over. AUS 109/1 after 19 overs. Australia needs 99 runs.

Rashid continues. Seven from the over. Australia cruising at the moment. Finch is batting on 64... Warner at the other end is taking his time. Naib back into the attack. GONE! Captain takes Captain. Finch perishes after a well-made 50, caught by Mujeeb.  Usman Khawaja in at No. 3. Four runs and a wicket from it. AUS 98/1 after 17 overs.

Another miserly over from Nabi: just three from it. Rashid Khan brought into the attack. Finch brings up his 50 with a four and follows it up with a maximum. An expensive first over; 14 coming off it. Nabi to continue. Four runs coming in it. AUS 87/0 after 15 overs.

Gulbadin Naib into the attack. Just one from it. Mohammad Nabi to roll his arm. Good start from the offie: only three from the over. Naib to continue. Finch sends one over the mid-wicket fence for six. Eight off the over. AUS 66/0 after 12 overs.

Luck's not favouring Hassan yet. Another outside edge, this time off Warner, runs away to third-man for four. Five from it in the end. Dawlat to continue. Just two off it. Seven overs gone, AUS 44/0.  Hassan to continue. Second maiden from Hassan. This is terrific bowling from the 32-year-old. Dawlat continues. Finch brings up the team 50 with a six. He ends the over with a boundary. AUS 54/0 after 9 overs.

 

Hassan to continue. Almost another maiden from him but the last ball races away to third man for four; Finch throwing his hands at the wide delivery. Dawlat Zadran into the attack. Starts with a no-ball. Free hit coming up. Warner has slapped that to long-on for four. Six from the over. AUS 35/0 after 5 overs.

Finch gets off the mark with a single. Warner, too, opens his account with a single. Finch, off the front foot, crunches a cover drive for four. Follows it up with an off-drive for a second consecutive boundary. 10 from the over. Hamid Hassan to share the new ball. Starts off with two dots. And that's a maiden to start things off for Hassan. Mujeeb to continue. Finch has launched one over long-on for six.  Now Warner collects three. Finch wraps up the over with a boundary to fine leg. 14 from it. AUS 24/0 after 3 overs.

Warner and Finch to begin chase. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman to start proceedings for Afghanistan.

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Zampa: "Credit to Afghanistan, they played some fearless cricket. When batsmen play sweeps and reverse sweeps, you need to adapt. But as I said, there are days when you get wickets but also get smashed. I think it's going to suit them a bit, might skid around a bit. Starc and Cummins bowled really well up front but I think it should skid on in the second half. We started really well with intensity, it was lacking a bit in the middle overs but yeah, the start was really good."

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GONE! Cummins castles Mujeeb, picks up his third wicket as Afghanistan folds for 207.  After losing both openers for a duck, Afghanistan has managed to go past 200 riding on fiesty knocks from the middle-order batsmen. It got a much needed thrust from Rashid's cameo. Australia needs 208 to win.

Cummins to continue. Mujeeb joins the fun: hits one to deep mid-wicket for four. And a six now! They are having fun out there, are the Afghan batsmen.. A short ball has been awkwardly pulled for six. 11 from the over. Zampa back into the attack. Rashid shimmies down the track and brings up the team 200 with a six. And he's been given out lbw next ball. Rashid reviews but to no avail. Zampa has his third wicket. Nine from it. AFG 207/9 after 38 overs.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, right handed bat, comes to the crease. Stoinis to continue. Rashid steps out and dismisses him over long-on for six. Now a fulll delivery on the pads is slammed away for four. Follows it up with a four to long-off and a maximum to deep square leg to make it 21. AFG 187/8 after 36 overs.

Dawlat Zadran joins Rashid. Two runs and two wickets for Stoinis in that over. Pat Cummins is back into the attack. A pacy short delivery has been swatted away by Dawlat in the gap for four. He has his revenge next ball! Second wicket for Cummins. Dawlat departs. AFG 166/8 after 35 overs.

Hostile short ball from Starc, and Zadran brings up his fifty with a four albeit in streaky fashion. GONE! The nagging sixth wicket stand comes to an end: Stoinis's slower ball outsmarts the Afghan skipper, is caught by Carey. AFG 160/6 after 33.1 overs. Rashid Khan joins Zadran. Zadran perishes to a needless shot and Stoinis grabs his second wicket. He falls for 51.

Coulter-Nile to continue. Five runs from the over. DRINKS! AFG 134/5 after 30 overs. Mitchell Starc back into the attack. Three dots and Najibullah works the fourth ball to fine leg for four. Moves into the fourties. Naib joins the fun, ends the over with a boundary. Nine from that one. Coulter-Nile to continue. Naib brings up the 150 in style: a length ball has been launched over deep midwicket for six. AFG 153/5 after 32 overs.

Maiden from Coulter-Nile. Zampa to continue. A conventional sweep from Zadran races away to fine leg for four. Crashed through deep extra cover now. Two back-to-back fours. And now two successive sixes. Zadran is upping the ante in style. 22 runs from the over. AFG 129/5 after 29 overs.

SHOT! Najibullah has reverse swept Zampa to backward point for four. Seven from it. Zadran brings up the team 100 with a cut shot for four. Coulter-Nile concedes just four in the over. Zampa to continue. Zadran scythes one between extra cover and long-off for four. Five from the over. AFG 107/5 after 27 overs.

Naib gets another boundary, places it in the gap albeit a brief scare as the ball flies wide of Khawaja at mid-wicket. Four from the over. Cummins into his sixth over. Just one off the over. Afghanistan into the nineties. AFG 91/5 after 24 overs.

Nabi has been run-out. Afghanistan loses its fifth wicket. Najibullah Zadran joins Naib.  Wicket maiden that.  Cummins is back into the attack. He's greeted by Naib with a thumping whack to the on-side for four. Follows it up with another boundary,  in the exact same direction. Nine from the over.

Stoinis is back into the attack. Rahmat has looked untroubled so far in his innings. Two from that over. Zampa strikes, again. This time it's Rahmat Shah who has been caught. Smith completing a fine catch. He falls for a 60-ball 43. Skipper Gulbadin Naib is in next. Two in the over. AFG 77/4 after 20 ovrs.

A short ball from Zampa and Rahmat has pulled that to deep mid-wicket for four. Six from the over. Rahmat now shifts his focus to Starc: a pitched up delivery and Rahmat carves it through covers to move into the 40s. Six from the over. Zampa's third goes for just three. AFG 73/3 after 18 overs.

Adam Zampa, leg-spinner, into the attack. He gets the breakthrough, does Zampa. Shahidi has been stumped! First World Cup wicket that for Adam Zampa. Mohammad Nabi is at the crease. Six runs and a wicket from that over. Mitchell Starc returns into the attack. A scrambled single to finish the 15th over. AFG 58/3 after 15 overs.

Coulter-Nile continues to be taken for runs... Two boundaries from that over as Afghanistan inches towards 50. Both the Afghan batsmen have looked solid in defence so far. Four runs from that Stoinis over. Shahidi brings up the team fifty with a brace off what looked like a glorious drive. Just one from it. AFG 51/2 after 13 overs.

STAT ATTACK

 

Cummins into his fourth over. Only two from it in the end. Coulter-Nile to continue. Terrific stuff this: only one from it. Marcus Stoinis, right-arm medium, has been introduced into the attack. Rahmar is growing in confidence with each passing ball: Stoinis goes short and Rahmat flatbats a pull for four. AFG 37/2 after 10 overs.

SHOT! Cummins goes short and Rahmat has pulled that handsomely for his second boundary. Nathan Coulter-Nile into the attack. That's the shot of a man in control of his game: flicks Coulter-Nile past mid-wicket for four more. Seven from the over. AFG 30/2 after 7 overs.

Starc to continue. Shahidi has driven through the covers for Afghanistan's first boundary of the match. Five off the over. Cummins continues. Six runs coming off the over. Starc is working up some good pace here; there's an appeal for a strangle down leg but Australia decide not to review it. Rightly so. Only two from it. AFG 19/2 after 5 overs.

TIMBER! Starc cleans up Shahzad with the third ball of the match. Afghanistan one down. Rahmat Shah, right handed bat, comes to the crease... That was a pacy inswinger from Starc and Shahzad was clearly beaten for pace and swing. Rahmat gets off the mark with a three. Three off the over. Pat Cummins to share the new ball. GONE! Cummins gets Zazai out caught behind and Afghanistan have lost a second wicket. Shahidi is in next. AFG 6/2 after 2 overs.

Mitchell Starc to start proceedings with the new ball. Zazai and Shahzad open for Afghanistan.

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TOSS UPDATE: Afghanistan has won the toss and opted to bat.

Australia (Playing XI): Aaron Finch(c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey(w), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa

Afghanistan (Playing XI): Mohammad Shahzad(w), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib(c), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hamid Hassan

Naib: "Australia is a champion side and we need to start well against them. Everyone knows about the spinners of Afghanistan, all of them are experience and skilled - Nabi, Mujeeb and Rashid."

Finch: "I would have batted first as well, looks a good wicket and put runs on the board. Not that hard on top and hopefully, we can get some movement early on. Usman's form over the last 14-15 games was too good to ignore. Really tough call but we had to make it. Lyon, Richardson and Behrendorff are the others missing out."

Afghanistan will open its World Cup 2019 campaign against defending champion Australia in Bristol after a string of recent performances that show they are more than just a feel-good story from a conflict-riven nation| How cricket replaced guns with roses in Afghanistan

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Australia spinner Nathan Lyon insists his team was prepared for the “ruthless” reaction from England fans to Steve Smith and David Warner|Australia expected 'ruthless' England fans, says Lyon

Former Australian pacer Brett Lee feels that the duo of Steve Smith and David Warner have nothing to prove but the they will need to have “thick skin” to counter sledging and hostile crowds at the World Cup| Brett Lee insists Smith, Warner need to have 'thick skin' to shine

The defending champion has endured a tumultuous past year but the Aaron Finch-led side is peaking at the right time and is considered one of the favourite in the 50-over showpiece event.

Here's today's Match Preview:

Steve Smith and David Warner will seek redemption on the biggest stage as they re-launch their one-day international careers for Australia against Afghanistan at the World Cup on Saturday.

The star batsmen were both banned for a year for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal but they have found form on their return to the international set-up.

Warner was the top run-scorer in the recent Indian Premier League while Smith struck a hundred in a warm-up victory against England last weekend.

The defending champion has endured a tumultuous past year but the Aaron Finch-led side is peaking at the right time and is considered one of the favourite in the 50-over showpiece event.

After edging out India 3-2 in a five-match ODI series in March, Australia welcomed back Smith and Warner with open arms.

But they are not expected to be given an easy ride by English fans, with former captain Smith being booed and called a “cheat” during the England warm-up game.

READ| How cricket replaced guns with roses in Afghanistan

Former Australian paceman Brett Lee expects the pair to make big contributions but has warned they might need thick skin playing in front of the English crowds.

“I don't think they have got a point to prove, they will just be happy to be back playing for Australia,” said Lee, who won the tournament with Australia in 2003.

“They have been welcomed back to the Australian cricket team with open arms, and I reckon they have a shot at winning.

“You have got the Barmy Army, you have got guys like Kevin Pietersen chirping at me already. They are going to cop some sledging, but you need thick skin,” he added.

'United front'

Australia also boast a potent pace attack led by Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, ably supported by Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson.

Spinners Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon lend variety to the bowling attack that combined to get the better of England and Sri Lanka in warm-up games.

The five-time champion will start as overwhelming favourites in Bristol against an Afghanistan side only playing their second 50-over World Cup.

ALSO READ| Rashid Khan: Eyeing to create a flutter or two

Afghanistan's rise from associate-nation status to cricket's elite has been nothing short of a fairytale.

The minnows witnessed a captaincy change two months before the start of the World Cup, with little-known Gulbadin Naib named leader of the ODI side in place of Asghar Afghan, a move that did not go down well with some senior members of the team.

But the team have now settled to focus on their World Cup campaign.

“Gulbadin has said he'll make use of Asghar's experience (at the World Cup). They are a united front now,” said chief selector Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai.

“Changes do happen, like Sri Lanka did with their captaincy.”

Star spinner Rashid Khan carries the team's hopes on his shoulders with his ability to run through opposition batting — he tops the world Twenty20 bowling rankings and lies third in the 50-over standings.

Afghanistan, who beat Pakistan in a World Cup warm-up match, are setting their sights high.

“There was no Rashid or Mujeeb (ur Rahman) in 2015 so this time we are aiming for a semifinal berth. With the team composition we have, we can definitely surprise a few teams,” said Ahmadzai.

“We have identified teams we can beat but obviously I can't tell you which teams.”

Teams:

Australia (From): Aaron Finch(c), David Warner, Steven Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey(w), Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Kane Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon

Afghanistan (From): Mohammad Shahzad(w), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib(c), Rashid Khan, Najibullah Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Noor Ali Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Hamid Hassan

The match will be streamed live on Hotstar