Saturday 18 August, 2018

Clarke delighted after Afghanistan ask Australia to bat

Afghanistan's bowler Hamid Hassan appeals unsuccessfully for a caught behind attempt on Australia's batsman Steve Smith during their Cricket World Cup match in Perth

KABUL, Wednesday, Mar  4, 2015- Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi won the toss opted to field in the World Cup Pool A match against Australia at Perth, a decision that delighted his counterpart Michael Clarke.

“There is a little bit moisture in the pitch, we want to use that condition,” said Nabi whose team made one change into the team, bringing in teenaged batsman Usman Ghani for all-rounder Gulbadin Naib.

Australia, smarting from Saturday’s narrow defeat by New Zealand, made two changes, replacing injured bowler Pat Cummins with Josh Hazlewood and welcoming James Faulkner at the cost of fellow all-rounder Shane Watson.

“Wicket looks fantastic, the ground is in great nick. If I had won the toss, I would have batted,” Clarke said at the toss.

Australia thumped England in their tournament opener but had to split points with Bangladesh after the match in Brisbane was washed out.

Pipped by New Zealand in Saturday’s low-scoring thriller in Auckland, Australia need to revive their campaign against a spirited Afghanistan team and the importance of the match was not lost on Clarke.

“Big game for us, we need to bounce back after the loss against New Zealand,” he added.

Afghanistan will have nothing to lose against the co-hosts in a match that pits the tournament debutants against World Cup’s most successful team.

The Afghans imploded against Bangladesh but gave a scare to former champions Sri Lanka before registering an emotional victory against Scotland and they would hope to continue the fight against world number one Australia.

Australia – David Warner, Aaron Finch, Clarke (captain), Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin, Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Hazlewood

Afghanistan – Javed Ahmadi, Ghani, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Nabi (captain), Najibullah Zadran, Afsar Zazai, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran

(Reuters)

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