Any concerns that co-hosts Australia were about to drift into the background in their own backyard were dismissed today, with not only a record total at the World Cup being recorded by them, but also the biggest winning margin in the history of the competition. After a narrow defeat to the New Zealanders in their last match and a wash-out against the Bangladeshis, they had been somewhat surprisingly sitting on just three points from their opening three games. Victory against the Afghans has ensured a far healthier situation for them in third place in Pool A, with matches to come against Sri Lanka and Scotland to confirm their likely place in the quarter-finals.
After being put into bat in Perth, the home side lost Aaron Finch with the score on just 14 to Dawlat Zadran, but that was the only good news for Afghanistan in the first-half of the game, as Australia amassed the record total of 417-6 from their 50 overs. Chief destroyer of their bowling attack was David Warner with a scintillating 178 from 133 balls, as he added a colossal 260 for the second-wicket with Steve Smith (95). That strong base allowed next man in, Glenn Maxwell to open his shoulders and score a quickfire 88 runs off just 39 deliveries, as he was clearly looking for the quickest World Cup century, to add to the records that were already in the progress of being set in the match. Zadran's early success could not mask the hammering he took later on though, ending with unfortunate figures of 2-101 from his ten overs, only the third bowler ever to concede over 100 runs in a World Cup innings.
Having taken apart their bowling attack, the Aussies then set about the Afghan's batting line-up with equal gusto, dismissing them for just 142 in 37.3 overs. The two Mitchells, Johnson (4 - 22) and Starc (2 - 18) ripped through their opposition in determined fashion to ensure a 275 -run victory over the visitors, which represents the biggest winning margin throughout the World Cup's history. Top scorer for the Afghans was Nawroz Mangal with just 33.
The huge score that the Baggy Greens posted went past the previous record of 413-5 made by India in 2007 when they took on Bermuda. It was still some way behind the ODI record though, set by Sri Lanka against the Netherlands in 2006 of 443-9.
Some will say that the ODI format as it stands with the various powerplays and fielding restrictions, favours the batsmen over the bowlers, and with three scores of over 400 already in this competition, few would argue with that sentiment. There have been exceptions though and indeed the closest matches have perhaps been those with the fewest runs scored, the obvious example being New Zealand's exciting but low scoring victory over Australia. #Cricket