#CWC15 Clarke says triple-ton score is coming

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Michael Clarke believes the 300-run mark will be broken soon by a batsman

Australian captain Michael Clarke believes it is possible a batsman will crack the 300-run barrier in one-day international cricket.

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Clarke was speaking after his side demolished Afghanistan by a World Cup record 275 runs yesterday at the WACA Ground, led by a punishing David Warner century.

The left-handed opener belted 178 from 133 balls in the Australian innings of 417 for six, falling when the chance to become the fifth batsman to score an ODI double century beckoned. There were still 12.3 overs remaining in the Australian innings at the time.

Indian Rohit Sharma holds the record for the highest individual score with 264 against Sri Lanka at Kolkata last November, while Chris Gayle scored 215 earlier in the World Cup for the West Indies.

All the individual scores of 200 have been made since 2010 and Clarke said it was no longer unthinkable that a batsman could make 300 in a 50-over game.

He said there were a handful of batsmen who were capable of reaching what was once an unimaginable milestone.

“Someone like Davey, or Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers … on a smaller ground I think they possibly could,” he said.

“You probably have to open the batting so you have the full 50 overs.

“In this game at the moment who knows, we are seeing so many different shots, different deliveries, so much power. There is a handful of players round the world who probably could do it.”

Warner, who looked set to become the second batsman in the tournament to reach 200 after Gayle before holing out in the 38th over, dismissed any disappointment at falling short of the milestone, which would have been the first by an Australian in a World Cup.

“I’m not disappointed at all,” Warner explained. “I went out there to score some runs and I managed to do that once the concrete shoes came off.

“It was good to get a great total on the board and obviously the bowlers did their job at the end there.”

Australia went past the previous World Cup best of 413-5 made by India against Bermuda in 2007 before dismissing Afghanistan for just 142.

It was the third 400-plus total in the last six days after South Africa twice went through the barrier – 408-5 against the West Indies and 411-4 in the game with Ireland.

Warner made Australia’s highest World Cup individual score, beating the 158 of Matthew Hayden against West Indies at Antigua in 2007. He was just seven short of Shane Watson’s national record in all ODIs of 185 not out against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2011.

Warner’s 260-run second-wicket partnership with Steve Smith, who went on to make 95, was also an Australian ODI record beating the 252 of Ricky Ponting and Watson against England at Centurion in 2009. Glenn Maxwell hit a rapid 88 off just 39 balls with six fours and seven sixes.

In reply, Afghanistan were bundled out in 37.3 overs, although Nawroz Mangal, who top-scored with 33, gave their smattering of fans something to cheer when he hit Mitchell Marsh for successive sixes.

Mitchell Johnson did much of the damage to claim 4-22 from 7.3 overs while fellow left-armer Mitchell Starc continued his amazing vein of World Cup form with 2-18 and has 10 wickets in the event at just 9.3 runs apiece.

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#CWC15 Pakistan too strong for UAE in World Cup clash

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Pakistan has smashed the UAE by 129 runs in the World Cup

Cricketing minnows UAE felt the chasm between them and the Test playing nations once again as they suffered a big loss to Pakistan in a match where they never looked like threatening the opposition.

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Barring a brief period at the beginning, when the UAE dismissed the horribly out-of-form Nasir Jamshed early and then dropped two catches of Ahmed Shehzad, it was Pakistan all the way.

Shehzad made the UAE pay a heavy price for the mishaps, top-scoring with 93 and helping his side reach an imposing 339 for seven. In reply, the UAE did well to play a full quota of 50 overs, finishing on 210 for eight and losing by 129 runs.

With two wins in four matches, Pakistan have climbed up to fourth place in Group B, and also improved their net run rate, which looked dismal after the heavy losses to India and the West Indies.

UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir won the toss in overcast conditions and for the first time, decided to chase a target.

It may have looked like a mistake in hindsight, but the logic was sound.

They were immediately rewarded when the under-fire Jamshed not only broke his bat, but also the trust in him by the team management, when Khurram Khan at mid on safely pouched a miscued pull off pacer Manjula Guruge.

But Shehzad, when on eight, was dropped by a flying Khurram at mid off, and then four runs later, Andri Berenger made a mess of an easy catch at backward point.

Shehzad, who hit eight fours and a six in his 105-ball knock, added 160 runs for the second wicket with Haris Sohail (70 off 83 balls), and that partnership completely took the match away from the UAE.

Towards the later half of the innings, captain Misbah-ul Haq raced to his third half-century of the World Cup with a 65 in 49 balls, and added 75 for the fourth wicket with Sohaib Maqsood (45 in 31 balls).

Guruge was the most successful bowler for the UAE with 4-56 in eight overs, but pace bowler Mohammad Naveed (1-50 in 10 overs) was the most impressive. In reply, openers Amjad Ali and Berenger once again failed to give their side a good start, while Krishna Chandran, at No3, made a second duck in three innings as the UAE slumped to 25-3 in the 10th over.

A quick end looked imminent but Khurram (43) added 83 runs for the fourth wicket with the in-form Shaiman Anwar before Amjad Javed and Swapnil Patil put together 68 for the seventh wicket to make sure they batted out the 50 overs. The highlights for the UAE were the bowling display of Naveed (2-0-5-1) during the five Powerplay overs, and the batting of Anwar.

The Sialkot-born batsman continued his superb run of form and never looked in trouble as he eased to 62 runs in 88 balls before Jamshed caught him in the deep off Shahid Afridi.

It took his tally in the World Cup to 270 from four innings, which is two runs better than Sri Lankan star Kumar Sangakkara as the highest run-getter of the tournament.

There was another milestone achieved earlier in the match when Afridi crossed the 8,000 run mark in ODIs during his seven-ball innings of 21 not out. He later took 2-35 and is now five wickets short of reaching the landmark of 400 wickets in ODIs.

For Pakistan, there are still a few problem areas, and the biggest issue they face is the form of opener Jamshed. In the four matches so far, the highest opening partner ship has been 11 runs, and there is a strong possibility that Sarfraz Ahmed will replace him in the match against South Africa.

They will also be sweating on the fitness of fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who suffered a glute strain and bowled just three overs.

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#CWC15: Pakistan’s Waqar Younis happy with win over UAE, but expected better

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Vital win: But Waqar Younis expected an even better result from Pakistan.

A win is always welcome, but coach Waqar Younis could not hide his disappointment that Pakistan were not able to inflict a bigger defeat on the UAE at McLean Park yesterday.

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It was their second win in as many matches, but Younis was under no illusion that the bigger and more important test for his team was the upcoming tie against South Africa.

When asked if he was relieved that Pakistan were still in the reckoning for a quarter-final place after the two wins, Younis said: “Look, of course, I am relieved. There is no doubt about that.

“And yet, the tournament is still very open. We will have to do well against the South Africans. This victory will definitely give us a boost, at least, a positive thinking toward the next two games.

“The body language of the players has definitely changed because a win always makes you feel comfortable and makes you feel confident.

"But I still feel that we need to win against a bigger opponent to really tell the world that we are around.

“Two victories, fair enough. The run-rate is better. We are sneaking in, so we’re just looking to play better cricket and we need to beat bigger opponents.”

Younis said the plan was to win by at least 150 runs once Pakistan set up a target of 340 runs for the UAE.

“We wanted to win by a bigger margin. But look, all credit to the UAE batsmen because they batted really well in a couple of phases,” said the coach.

“It also did not help that we lost (Mohammad) Irfan after just three overs. That was a bit of a setback. He has had a recurrence of some glute issues, but he is doing all right and I am confident he will be fit for our next match against South Africa.”

Younis said he felt Nasir Jamshed fitted in better into the team as a specialist opener, which was the reason why they opted to give him another chance despite his poor run of form, which continued with yet another failure yesterday.

“Look, we have 15 players here, so we try to pick up the best side on a day. So if it’s Nasir, or Sarfraz or Younis or someone else, whatever we feel is the right combination, that’s how we go about it,” said Younis.

“I still feel that Pakistan do need an extra batsman in the lineup, but unfortunately our batsmen are out of form, and we’re not really getting what we were looking for from the seven batsmen.

“The thing with Nasir is that he is a specialist opener and we needed one after the injury to Mohammad Hafeez.”

Pakistan’s next match is against South Africa on Sunday, March 7, in Auckland.

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