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The Latest: Warner, Smith return for Australia’s big win

June 1, 2019
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Australia's David Warner, left, pats Australia's Steve Smith on the back as Smith comes in to start their first batting over together during the Cricket World Cup match between Afghanistan and Australia at Bristol County Ground in Bristol, England, Saturday, June 1, 2019. Steve Smith and David Warner were back in the Australia lineup for their first official one-day internationals since returning from 12-month bans for their part in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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Australia's David Warner, left, pats Australia's Steve Smith on the back as Smith comes in to start their first batting over together during the Cricket World Cup match between Afghanistan and Australia at Bristol County Ground in Bristol, England, Saturday, June 1, 2019. Steve Smith and David Warner were back in the Australia lineup for their first official one-day internationals since returning from 12-month bans for their part in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest at the Cricket World Cup on Saturday (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

David Warner and Steve Smith returned from their international cricket exiles to help steer Australia to a seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in the opening game of its World Cup title defense.

Warner posted an unbeaten 89 as the Aussies surpassed Afghanistan’s 207 with 15 overs to spare.

Smith was out for 18 just three runs short of victory. Glenn Maxwell hit the next ball to the boundary to lift Australia to 209-3.

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.

Warner and ex-captain Smith were back following 12-month bans imposed in the wake of a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March last year that rocked Australian cricket.

They combined in a 49-run third-wicket partnership to guide Australia to victory, both withstanding booing, jeers, and chants from the crowd at the County Cricket Ground.

There’ll be a big change of pace for both teams next. Australia faces a West Indies team high on confidence after a big opening win over Pakistan. Afghanistan next plays a Sri Lanka team demoralized in a 10-wicket loss to New Zealand.

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4:35 p.m.

Najibullah Zadran’s 49-ball half-century and 83-run, sixth-wicket stand with skipper Gulbadin Naib helped Afghanistan recover to post 207 after losing both openers for ducks in their Cricket World Cup group game against five-time champion Australia.

Paceman Mitch Starc clean-bowled Mohammad Shahzad on the third ball and Pat Cummins had Hazratullah Zazai caught behind in the next over to make it 5-2.

Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi combined to stop the onslaught with a 51-run, third-wicket partnership until legspinner Adam Zampa took a pair of wickets to wrest the control back for Australia.

The Afghans slipped to 77-5 before Najibullah and Naib joined forces and, to the delight of the crowd at the County Cricket Ground in Bristol, belted Zampa out of the attack by clouting two boundaries and two sixes off the last four balls of the 29th over.

Again, though, Afghanstan lost wickets in clusters and the innings was derailed. Marcus Stoinis (2-37) had Naib (31) and Njibullah (51) caught behind attempting pull shots off short-pitched deliveries.

Zampa returned to collect a third wicket, his figures ballooning to 3-60 off eight overs, and Cummins (3-40) took the last two to finish off Afghanistan’s innings in the 39th over.

Australia has won both of its previous World Cup games against Afghanistan, including a 275-run victory in Perth four years ago.

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3:30 p.m.

Afghanistan has struggled to 98-5 halfway through its allotted overs after winning the toss and electing to bat first in the Cricket World Cup group match against five-time champion Australia.

The No. 10-ranked Afghans had two immediate setbacks, with paceman Mitch Starc removing Mohammad Shahzad on the third ball. With it, the lanky left-armer started Australia’s title defense in the same mode as he started the World Cup final four years ago in Melbourne with a big first-over wicket.

Pat Cummins had Hazratullah Zazai caught behind in the next over to make it 5-2, meaning both Afghan openers were out for ducks.

Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi combined to stop the onslaught with a 51-run third-wicket stand until a change of pace put Australia back in full control with two wickets.

Legspinner Adam Zampa struck in his first over, enticing Shahidi (18) down the wicket and having him neatly stumped by Alex Carey.

Shah, who defied the Australians for 60 balls to score 43 runs, didn’t get to the pitch of a flatter Zampa delivery in the 20th over and miscued to Steve Smith at short-cover to make it 75-4.

Smith was back in the action six balls later after a terrible mix up between Mohammad Nabi and skipper Gulbadin Naib resulted in a run out.

The ex-Australian captain dived to cut off a single, turned and threw to the wicketkeeper Carey with Nabi (7) well out of his ground after being sent back by Naib as he attempted a quick run.

Smith and David Warner were back in the Australian lineup for their first official one-day internationals since returning from 12-month bans for their part in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March, 2018.

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3 p.m.

New Zealand beat Sri Lanka with almost 34 overs to spare in a 10-wicket thrashing in their Cricket World Cup opener in Cardiff.

Openers Martin Guptill (73 not out) and Colin Munro (58 not out) took New Zealand to 137-0 off 16.1 overs at the Sophia Gardens after the 2015 finalists dismissed Sri Lanka for 136 in 29.2 overs.

Guptill hit Isuru Udana for a six as he reached a 39-ball half-century and New Zealand moved to 100 in 13 overs. Munro brought up his own 50 off 41 balls in the next over.

The result never really looked in doubt after New Zealand won the toss and sent Sri Lanka in to bat, with opener Dimuth Karunaratne offering the only serious resistance.

Karunaratne finished 52 not out off 84 balls for Sri Lanka, becoming the first opener to carry his bat at the Cricket World Cup since Ridley Jacobs for the West Indies against Australia in 1999.

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1:40 p.m.

Pakistan’s struggles against the short ball could lead to England playing an extra paceman against the 1992 champions in the Cricket World Cup match at Trent Bridge on Monday.

Pakistan was skittled for 105 against the West Indies at the same ground in Nottingham on Friday, with the quicks taking all 10 wickets.

Mark Wood was left out by England for its victory over South Africa on the opening day of the tournament but could be recalled, potentially to play alongside fellow fast bowler Jofra Archer.

England assistant coach Graham Thorpe said it was certainly an option.

Thorpe said Pakistan’s capitulation made for “interesting viewing” and that it looked like West Indies “roughed Pakistan up.”

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1:30 p.m.

Afghanistan will get first go with the bat against Australia after skipper Gulbadin Naib won the toss and decided his team’s best chance of beating the five-time World Cup champions was to post a total that his strong spin bowling attack can defend.

Fast bowler Hamid Hassan was recalled, but there was no room for former captain Asghar Afghan in the starting lineup.

The Australians went with restored David Warner as opener and Steve Smith at No. 4 for their first official game since returning from 12-month bans. Shaun Marsh missed out on the top-order batting spot, with Usman Khawaja dropping to No. 3 after opening with skipper Aaron Finch for much of the last year.

Nathan Coulter-Nile was picked as the third seamer to support pace spearheads Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.

Australia has won both previous World Cup meetings against Afghanistan, including a 275-run victory in Perth four years ago that started a nine-game winning streak. That remains Australia’s highest winning margin, by runs, in ODI cricket.

The Australians are on an eight-game winning streak after coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in India and then sweeping Pakistan 5-0.

The Afghans, who are the lowest-ranked of the 10 teams contesting the World Cup and secured their spot by winning the qualifying, have won three of their last five ODIs, including a victory over Pakistan here in Bristol in a warmup match.

Lineups:

Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Hazrat Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb ur Rahmanm, Hamid Hassan.

Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa.

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1 p.m.

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne carried his bat through the innings while his teammates offered little resistance as New Zealand dismissed Sri Lanka for 136 in 29.2 overs

The Black Caps, playing their first match in the tournament since reaching the 2015 final, dominated their Cricket World Cup group opener at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens.

Karunaratne finished 52 not out off 84 balls, including four boundaries.

Karunaratne and Thisara Perera shared a 52-run partnership for the seventh wicket off 51 balls, combining after Sri Lanka slumped to 60-6.

Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson took three wickets apiece.

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12:35 p.m.

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne runs the risk of being stranded as Sri Lanka reached 115-8 after 25 overs against New Zealand in their Cricket World Cup group opener.

Karunaratne is 42 not out with the Sri Lankans set to post a far-below-par total for the fourth-ranked New Zealand to chase.

Karunaratne and Thisara Perera shared a 52-run partnership for the seventh wicket off 51 balls at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens. The pair came together with Sri Lanka on 60-6.

Thisara Perera was out for a 23-ball 27 after holing out to Trent Boult off Mitchell Santner.

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11:55 a.m.

Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson have done the damage as New Zealand reduced Sri Lanka to 80-6 after 17 overs as the Black Caps took control of their Cricket World Cup group opener at Cardiff.

Fast-medium right-armer Henry dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne (4) leg before wicket off the second ball of the day. Henry then had a hat-trick opportunity after Kusal Perera (29) skied a catch to Colin de Grandhomme and Kusal Mendis went for a golden duck in the ninth over, caught brilliantly in the slips by Martin Guptill.

The fiery Ferguson then trapped Dhananjaya de Silva (4) leg before wicket.

Henry took 3-29 off seven overs before being replaced by de Grandhomme, who had Angelo Mathews caught behind without scoring to leave the Sri Lankans in serious trouble. It got even worse when Jeevan Mendis was caught at gully off Ferguson, who has 2-10 in three overs.

Opener Karunaratne is 25 not out.

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10:35 a.m.

Matt Henry struck on the second ball of New Zealand’s Cricket World Cup group opener against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka opener Lahiru Thirimanne was given out leg before wicket after the Black Caps asked for a TV review of the initial not out decision by the on-field umpire, leaving Sri Lanka on 4-1 on a grass-tinged wicket in mostly sunny conditions at Cardiff.

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10:10 a.m.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and sent Sri Lanka in to bat in Cricket World Cup group game against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

New Zealand was runners-up in the 2015 World Cup and go into the encounter on a four-game winning streak against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has played four ODIs at Sophia Gardens but the three-time finalists are still hunting for their first win at the venue, with defeats to New Zealand (2013), India (2013), England (2016) and Pakistan (2017).

The 1996 champions are coming off back-to-back defeats in warmup games.

Lineups:

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga.

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9:30 a.m.

Five-time champion Australia starts the defense of its Cricket World Cup title against Afghanistan at Bristol on Saturday, with David Warner and ex-captain Steve Smith expected to return to the lineup.

New Zealand, beaten by Australia in the 2015 final, faces Sri Lanka at Cardiff in the earlier game.

Australia captain Aaron Finch confirmed Warner is fit for the day-nighter in southwestern England, and that likely means it’s the same opening combination that helped carry Australia to victory at the last World Cup. But a lot has happened in between.

Finch was elevated to lead the Australia ODI squad after Smith and Warner were each banned for 12 months for their parts in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March last year.

After a considerable slump, the Australians have recovered in recent months to win eight consecutive ODIs, including a 3-2 comeback series win in India and a 5-0 sweep of Pakistan, then winning three warmup games in England. Afghanistan had a narrow win over Pakistan in a warmup game in Bristol but this was followed by a heavy defeat to top-ranked England.

Fourth-ranked New Zealand takes on 1996 champion Sri Lanka in the Welsh capital.

Sri Lanka has played four ODIs at Sophia Gardens but the three-time finalists are still hunting for their first win at the venue, with defeats to New Zealand (2013), India (2013), England (2016) and Pakistan (2017).

Sri Lanka was well beaten in both of its warmups against South Africa and Australia.

New Zealand beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in a home ODI series at the start of the year.

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