David Warner top-scored as Australia piled up the World Cup’s highest ever total en route to victory by the widest margin in tournament history, against Afghanistan in Perth.
The co-hosts’ 417 for six contained three outstanding innings, Warner (178) pacing himself and his team before upping the ante in a mammoth second-wicket stand of 260 with Steven Smith (95) after the early wicket of Aaron Finch – and then Glenn Maxwell (88) taking over.
Mitchell Johnson (four for 22) eased them to a landslide 275-run Pool A win as Afghanistan were bowled out for 142 in 37.3 overs.
With the ball, the associates had made an early breakthrough after winning the toss on a glorious afternoon – Finch edging Dawlat Zadran to slip in the third over – and Australia were content to bide their time to an extent against the new ball.
But Warner soon became more expansive, passing his century in 92 balls and finishing with 19 fours and five sixes from 132 in his one-day international career-best before he skied a slower ball to mid-wicket – well-held by captain Mohammad Nabi off Shapoor Zadran.
Smith operated at a run-a-ball and seemed set for a century too, only to crunch Shapoor straight to mid-off. The stage was nonetheless set for Maxwell, with captain Michael Clarke dropping down the order to make way for the six-hitters.
Maxwell hit six fours and seven sixes from just 39 balls – and even though he holed out at extra-cover before he could break Kevin O’Brien’s record for the fastest World Cup century, Australia had enough in the tank to surge past 400 and beyond the two totals made by South Africa in the past week as well as India’s previous all-time tournament high of 413 for five against Bermuda in Trinidad in 2007.
Afghanistan tried gamely to reply but their wickets soon began to fall. Johnson was responsible for two of the first three, teenage opener Usman Ghani clipping a leg-stump half-volley to straight mid-wicket in the first over from Australia’s first-change and Asghar Stanikzai’s attempt to counter-attack resulting in a scythe down to third-man where Smith took a steepling catch.
Despite a handy fourth-wicket stand between Nawroz Mangal and Samiullah Shenwari, it was merely a case of whether Australia would achieve a record margin of World Cup victory and in their own ODI history.
They duly did both when Hamid Hassan was last out, mispulling Johnson, and have moved up to third in the table to stay on course for the quarter-finals.