Amid boos, Smith and Warner make remarkable comeback
Jun 03 2019
Finch got out after scoring a half-century and Warner got a reprieve after Mohammad Shahzad missed an easy stumping, Australia cruise to victory with seven wickets in hand.
After a stuttering start in the last World Cup, it was the match against Afghanistan that gave them their first comfortable win-a margin of 275 runs.
Warner and Aaron Finch (66) reunited at the top of the order and shared a 96-run opening stand to get the chase started in Bristol after Australia reduced Afghanistan to 207 from 38.2 overs.
A full 434 days after Warner and Steve Smith presided over the Cape Town sandpaper plot, both men were back in polite society, marking their first official post-ban global with an easy win over Afghanistan.
There were glimpses, however, of the aggression and swashbuckling approach that made Warner such a fearsome player before he was banned, along with Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, for being involved in ball tampering in South Africa in 2018.
He and Smith batted together, putting on 49 for the third wicket, before Smith was out for 18 with just three runs needed to win.
"It's good to be back and it's a good win for us", said man-of-the-match Warner at the presentation ceremony.
"I think we expected that we were going to cop it and I think all of us, to our credit, are just getting on with the job".
Zampa said he did not think Warner and Smith would necessarily feed off the negative vibes from the crowd, but instead were shutting them out, praising them for the way they were handling themselves. Finch put pay to that.
Afghanistan will face Sri Lanka in their second match of the tournament at Sophia Gardens.
But the move backfired badly, with openers Mohammad Shahzad and Zazai departing for ducks as Afghanistan slipped to five for two in the second over. But we're handling it really well at the moment'.
The Afghans rallied from 5-2 and 75-5 to get past 200, with Najibullah Zadran making 51 off 49 balls.
Rahmat Shah earlier steadied the innings with a 43-run knock after coming in at No. 3, but it was Najibullah and captain Gulbadin Naib who gave their team hope of a competitive total with a swashbuckling 83-run sixth-wicket partnership off 75 balls.
Naib, Rashid and Mujeeb claimed one wicket each.
Khawaja, the world's most prolific ODI batsman this year, won a selection battle with Shaun Marsh and scored 15 at No.3 before falling LBW to Afghan spinner Rashid Khan. "Us batters like to see that", Warner said.
Other than Cummins, leg-spinner Adam Zampa and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis dismissed three and two batsmen respectively.