Australia rode on punishing centuries from openers David Warner and Mitchell Marsh to beat Pakistan by 62 runs in their World Cup game in Bengaluru on Friday. Australia’s total of 367-9 was built on Warner’s 163 with Marsh, on his 32nd birthday, hitting 121. Pakistan were undone by poor bowling and fielding which saw Warner dropped when he had made just 10. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa then ripped through the middle-order with figures of 4-53 as Pakistan were bowled out for 305 in 45.3 overs, leaving both teams on two wins and as many losses.

The win on Friday helped Australia replace Pakistan at the fourth spot in the points table. Meanwhile, the Babar Azam-led side slipped to the fifth spot.

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Mohammad Rizwan (46) and Saud Shakeel (30) added 57 for the fourth wicket as Pakistan needed 168 from the last 20 overs but Pat Cummins dismissed Saud Shakeel while Zampa accounted for Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed (26) and Mohammad Nawaz (14) to end their resistance.

Pakistan were given a solid start of 134 — only their second hundred opening stand this year — by Imam-ul-Haq (70) and Abdullah Shafique (64).

Australia dropped Shafique with substitute Sean Abbott spilling a simple chance over the boundary off Cummins when the opener had made 27 while the skipper then dropped Imam off Zampa when the batsman was on 48.

But Marcus Stoinis‘s short-pitched deliveries claimed both the openers within the space of 20 runs while Cummins pulled off a splendid catch at mid-wicket off Adam Zampa to dismiss opposing captain Babar Azam for 18.

Earlier, Warner and Marsh set up Australia’s imposing total.

Warner survived a leg-before appeal off the very first ball of the match and was then dropped on 10 in the fifth over, before cracking a punishing 124-ball 163 after Australia were sent in to bat on a flat Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch.

Marsh clobbered a 108-ball 121 as the pair raced to an Australian World Cup opening stand record of 259 by the 34th over, much to the delight of a 30,000 crowd.

Warner’s innings had 14 boundaries and nine towering sixes as he and Marsh spared none of the Pakistan bowlers. Marsh’s knock was spiced with ten boundaries and nine sixes.

Their stand — just 23 short of the World Cup opening record of 282 by Sri Lanka’s Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan against Zimbabwe at Pallekele in 2011 — was helped by a weak performance by Pakistan in the field.

(With AFP Inputs)

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