Australia, Afghanistan register thrilling wins; India's final warm-up game washed out again
Australia's captain, Pat Cummins, won the toss and opted to bat, a decision that went on to decide the fate of the game.
NEW DELHI: Despite the cancellation of India's last warm-up match against the Netherlands ahead of the World Cup, Australia and Afghanistan made sure that the spectators were still treated to a thrilling match. In a thrilling high-scoring run-chase, Australia registered a 14-run victory over Pakistan, with many star players finding their form once again.
Australia's captain, Pat Cummins, won the toss and opted to bat, a decision that went on to decide the fate of the game. David Warner who knows every inch of the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium made an explosive start just like he had done numerous times for his previous Indian Premier League (IPL) side Sunrisers Hyderabad.
He scored 48 off 33 balls to lay the foundation of a high-scoring game. Marnus Labuschagne played an eye-catching knock, contributing 40 runs, while Glenn Maxwell's fireworks lit up Australia's as he struck 77 off merely 57 deliveries. Cameron Green (50*) and Josh Inglis (48) played handy knocks and added crucial runs to the scoreboard.
Australia's collective effort from the batting unit saw them post an imposing 351/7 from their allotted 50 overs. Pakistan began the mammoth chase with Fakhar Zaman (22) and Imam-ul-Haq (16) aiming to provide an ideal foundation. However, Australian bowlers led by Cummins found consistent breakthroughs and kept the game on balanced terms.
Captain Babar Azam's brilliance was on showcase as he arrived at No. 6, and took on the opposition bowlers to score a scintillating knock of 90 before retiring. Despite his heroics, Pakistan found the required run rate too much to deal with. Iftikhar Ahmed's valiant knock of 83 and Mohammad Nawaz's explosive 50 kept Pakistan's hopes momentarily alive.
Labuschagne, who had already impressed with the bat, turned out to be the game-changing factor. His crucial wickets, along with Maxwell's off-spin, added pressure on the Pakistan batting order.
Mitchell Marsh gave crucial support as Australia managed to restrict Pakistan and bowled them out in 47.4 overs. Coming to Afghanistan's clash against Sri Lanka, the Afghan team cruised to victory in a rain-affected match with Rahmanullah Gurbaz shining with a thunderous (119) and a stylish 93 from Rahmat Shah added the icing on the cake.
Sri Lanka posted a competitive total of 294 with Kusal Mendis leading the charge from the bat with his 158. Gurbaz and Rahmat put on a partnership of 212 to switch the momentum towards Afghanistan’s way.
Afghanistan's victory total was reduced to just 257 in 42 overs due to rain. In the end, Afghanistan chased down the target with more than three overs remaining. Gurbaz smashed nine sixes during his entertaining knock, while Rahmat contributed three as Afghanistan warmed up for the tournament with an impressive victory.