Rohit Sharma smashed 150 as India overpowered Afghanistan by 153 runs in a warm-up match in Adelaide on Tuesday.
Afghanistan faced an uphill battle from the start chasing 365 for victory and they didn’t come close, ending on 211/8. The only positive for them was the fact that they managed to bat out their 50 overs.
For India, Suresh Raina (75) and Ajinkya Rahane (88) chipped in with half-centuries to post the formidable score.
Afghanistan never really got going. Usman Ghani (44), Nawroz Mangal (60) and Asghar Stanikzai (20) got starts, but failed to push on and make big scores while building useful partnerships.
CLARKE READY FOR HIS COMEBACK
Michael Clarke will likely make his comeback from hamstring surgery in Australia’s World Cup warm-up game against the United Arab Emirates in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Although Clarke looks set to captain Australia for the first time in two months, his likely participation in the warm-up doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be ready to face England in Australia’s opening match of the tournament on Saturday.
The selectors are yet to decide whether Clarke has a realistic chance of facing the Poms, after he was given a fitness deadline of 21 February to be ready for the tournament.
Australia play Bangladesh in their second pool match.
‘He’s our captain, so it’s great to have him back,’ paceman Josh Hazlewood said on Tuesday.
‘Every player does as much rehab as they can and as much as they can do off the field to try and get back.
‘Hopefully he gets through tomorrow night.’
Coach Darren Lehmann suggested Clarke had been training ‘the house down’.
‘Now it’s a case of getting up to speed with the fielding,’ Lehmann told Fox Sports.
Clarke and Shane Watson, who returned from a hamstring injury on Sunday after missing three one-day internationals, were put through their paces at the MCG on Tuesday.
Both trained under the watchful eye of team physio Alex Kountouris.
James Faulkner, who is recovering from a side strain, batted in the nets.
PROTEAS ARE TWITTER KINGS
South Africa are the most Twitter-savvy team at the Cricket World Cup in Australia.
Of the eight test-playing nations at the tournament, the Proteas have the most players (12 out of the 15 players) in their squad with verified Twitter accounts.
Australia and England (11 players each) come second, while India share the third place with New Zealand (eight players each). Six West Indian players have verified accounts while Pakistan and Sri Lanka have three each.
It comes as no surprise that India leads all other teams in terms of Twitter following. The combined follower base for the Indian players with verified Twitter accounts is almost equal to that of the verified users from all other teams put together.
The squad for each team comprises 15 players, making a total of 120 players for the eight teams. Of these, 62 players (51 % of the total) have verified Twitter accounts.
Eight players have a fan following of 1 million or more.
Four of these players are Indians – Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma.
The other four, in decreasing order of number of followers, are Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Michael Clarke
AUSTRALIA GET TWENTY20 HOSTING RIGHTS
The ICC announced on Tuesday that Australia and New Zealand will host the World Twenty20 tournament in 2020.
David Richardson, ICC chief executive, confirmed the news at a press conference only four days before the World Cup starts in Melbourne.
It will be the first time the T20 tournament is hosted in Australia.
‘It’s an honour to be hosting a global event on behalf of the ICC,’ Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said.
‘We haven’t cast our minds that far ahead yet, 2020 seems like a long way away. We’ll focus our attention on that after this tournament.’
It has been 23 years since the two nations hosted a major cricket event, the 1992 World Cup.
Richardson, who represented South Africa in that tournament, lamented the long wait.
‘We’d like to come back to Australia and New Zealand more often,’ he said.
‘The fact is the timezone for this part of the world, relative to the rest of the cricket playing world, is not ideal. But what makes it special is the tournaments have come few and far between, which adds to the excitement and the level of anticipation for this event.’