@the_topspin 2 minute read
Back in action for Australia after 14 months, David Warner adopted an uncharacteristically cautious approach and eventually walked back with an unbeaten match-winning 89 against Afghanistan. Here’s Lawrence Booth’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
Afghanistan v Australia
Match 4, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
County Ground, Bristol
June 1, 2019
Try as they might, the Nevil Road crowd could not jeer the Australians off their stride. This was the first official international appearance by Smith and Warner since their shenanigans in Cape Town 434 days earlier, and the locals were in no mood to forgive, let alone forget.
Both were barracked as they walked out to bat, while a small section of the crowd noisily scratched pieces of sandpaper. Warner admitted to early nerves as Australia set about chasing 208, and might have been caught on ten, then stumped on 19. But Finch’s punishing 66 from 49 balls allowed Warner to bide his time. He played out two maidens from Hamid Hassan, and brought up his fifty from 74 deliveries, the slowest of his 32 ODI half-centuries; when Maxwell thumped his first ball over mid-off for the winning four, Warner was still there on 89 from 114.
Smith, meanwhile, had just departed, caught at short third man for 18 – giving spectators one more chance for a beery pantomime boo.
After choosing to bat in the tournament’s first day/nighter (though the lights were barely needed), Afghanistan had lost Mohammad Shahzad third ball to a Starc yorker. After that it was trial by bouncer, which made for frenetic fare. Afghanistan simply hit out at everything: Najibullah Zadran clubbed Zampa for 20 in four balls, and Rashid Khan hit Stoinis for 20 in five. But too many others had a heave, leading to three of Carey’s five dismissals and curtailing the innings with nearly 12 overs unused.
First published in 2020 Wisden Almanack.