Today at the World Cup: Associates struggle against the big boys

Cricket World Cup Launch 2015

In a new feature at HITC, we take a look at the past 24 hours at the 2015 Cricket World Cup and ahead to tomorrow's game.

 

There were the expected wins for Pakistan and Australia against associate nations United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.

Pakistan completed a 129-run win over UAE in Napier as their batting finally fired after recent struggles. Half-centuries from Ahmed Shehzad, Haris Sohail and Misbah-ul-Haq set up a score of 339 for six, which the Emiratis never threatened to overhaul. The loss of three early wickets saw to that and they did well to bat out their 50 overs, with Shaiman Anwar top-again scoring with 62.

Australia's win over the Afghans was even more comprehensive as David Warner smashed a century to lead their charge with the bat. He plundered 178 off 133 balls to set up a mammoth score of 417 for six. That knock was supplemented by one of 95 from Steve Smith and a blistering 88 from Glenn Maxwell. Afghanistan were then blown away by the Australian pace attack, all out for 142, as Mitchell Johnson took four for 22. Australia's 275-run win is the second biggest win in ODI history.

Australia are now up to third in Pool A, with matches against Sri Lanka (8th March), and Scotland (14th) to come.

Man of the day:

Glenn Maxwell edges out Warner for the sheer audacity of the strokeplay during his innings. A plethora of reverse sweeps was the notable feature, with the one that carried for six off the pacy Shapoor Zadran the pick. There was also a pleasing leg-side flicked maximum off the same bowler that was particularly good on the eye. All in all, he smashed seven sixes and managed 88 off 39 balls.

Post-match reaction:

"Outstanding with the bat. Davey Warner was exceptional, Steve Smith beautiful and Glenn Maxwell fantastic."

Michael Clarke on Australia's three batting successes.

"[Shaiman] Anwar's doing very well in the team and he's such a confident individual that we call him 'Sir Viv' in the dressing room - that's his nickname!"

UAE skipper Mohammad Tauqir on his side's top-scorer.

Stat of the day:

Following his knock of 62, Anwar is now, astonishingly, the tournament's leading scorer. His run of 67 against Zimbabwe, 106 against Ireland and 35 against India, coupled with today's 88-ball effort against Pakistan, gives him a tally of 270 runs - two ahead of Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara.

Talking point:

The thorough demolition of the two associate sides today should not be used as justification for the ICC's decision to attempt to limit their participation at the 2019 event. This tournament's ambassador, Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, has said that he would like to see as many as 25 teams compete in four years' time. While that may be stretching the point a little too far, it is a laudable aim for perhaps two decades down the line. Arguably, a more important point that Tendulkar made was the suggestion that A sides from the likes of Australia, England and India should tour the associates to give them more game time and allow them to be more competitive when they do actually get the chance to play at World Cups. Added to this, is the fact that tomorrow's opponents - leading associate Scotland and low-ranking full member Bangladesh - have not played each other in a full-length ODI since 2006. Cricket must grow to survive.

Tomorrow's game:

Scotland v Bangladesh in Nelson (from 2200 GMT tonight)

Bangladesh sit fourth in Pool A following their win over Afghanistan and the wash-out against Australia. They must beat Scotland, who have lost all three of their games to date, to set up a virtual knockout match against England on 9th March.

Expect a nervy affair with Scotland scenting a chance of victory following their narrow defeat to Afghanistan. There is a possibility of rain in the afternoon on what should be a warm day.

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