Australia and England have warmed up to the best of their ability for the World Cup after recording resounding wins in their respective last warm-up clashes. At Southampton, Australia dismissed Sri Lanka by 5 wickets, while at The Oval, England thrashed Afghanistan by nine wickets.
Australia were chasing 240 against the Lankans and a fine 89 by opener Usman Khawaja and equally-important knocks by Glenn Maxwell (36), Shaun Marsh (34) and Marcus Stoinis (32) helped the defending world champions chase the 240-run target with 31 balls to spare. After Khawaja’s dismissal in the 41st over, Alex Carey (18*) and Pat Cummins (9*) made sure Australia secured the win.
Partnerships were the key to Australia’s success with Khawaja adding 80 with Marsh for the second wicket, 65 with Maxwell for the third wicket and 42 with Stoinis for the fourth wicket.
After electing to bat first, Sri Lanka scored 239 for 8 with opener Lahiru Thirimanne top-scoring with a 56. Apart from Thirimanne’s gritty fifty, Dhananjaya de Silva’s 41-ball 43 was the other major contribution to Lanka’s total. Other batsmen who did get starts but fell at the wrong time were Thisara Perera (27), and the two Mendises – Kusal (24) and Jeevan (21).
For Australia, Adam Zampa took two wickets, while there was a wicket apiece for Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith.
Australia should be happy with the all-round performance at Southampton and they now head to Bristol for their opening World Cup fixture against Afghanistan on June 1. Khawaja’s gritty knock, that came off 105 balls and included just three fours also means that left-handed batsman has all but secured his spot as Australia’s No. 3 behind Aaron Fich and David Warner when the World Cup starts.
Earlier, England recorded a confidence-boosting win at The Oval in their last warm-up game before Thursday’s opening World Cup fixture against South Africa.
Three-wicket hauls from Jofra Archer and Joe Root, and a blazing 46-ball 89 from Jason Roy helped the hosts thrash Afghanistan.
After opting to bowl first, England bowlers ran through the Afghan batting order – reducing them to 92 for 8, before Mohammad Nabi’s 44 helped the batting sdie get to 160 in 38.4 overs. Archer finished with figures of 3/32, while surprise package Root gave away just 22 runs in his six overs while picking up a three-for.
Apart from Nabi, Noor Ali Zadran (30) and Dawlat Zadran (20 not out) contributed with the bat for the Afghans.
The 161-run target was completed by England in 17.3 overs. Apart from Roy, Jonny Bairstow smashed a 22-ball 39, while Joe Root remained unbeaten on a 37-ball 29.
Roy’s knock was studded with 11 fours and 4 sixes, while his opening partner Bairstow smashed seven fours and one six during his blistering knock. The two added 77 runs for the first wicket.
Post Bairstow’s dismissal in the eighth over, Roy kept going for his shots and took the side to 100 in ten overs. Then, in the 18th over, in the company of Root carried England to a comfortable win.