(REUTERS) – David Warner’s career-best 178 and Glenn Maxwell’s 88-run blitz powered Australia to a record World Cup total of 417 for six wickets in a Pool A match against lowly Afghanistan at Perth yesterday.Warner forged a 260-run partnership with Steve Smith (95) for the second wicket, an Australian record, and Maxwell dazzled in his 39-ball cameo in an amazing display of batting pyrotechnics by the tournament’s co-hosts.
Warner hit five sixes and 19 fours in his belligerent knock before being dismissed in the 38th over, failing to better Shane Watson’s 185 not out against Bangladesh (2011), which remained the highest ODI score by an Australian.
It was some consolation for Watson who was replaced by James Faulkner for yesterday’s match in which his 252-run stand with Ricky Ponting was also bettered by the Warner-Smith duo.
Encouraged by the moisture on the pitch, Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi decided to field first, a decision that delighted his counterpart Michael Clarke who said they also wanted to bat first at the WACA.
Pitted against the most successful team in World Cup history, tournament debutants Afghanistan tasted early success when Dawlat Zadran induced an outside edge to dismiss Aaron Finch (four) in the third over.
Both Dawlat and Shapoor Zadran began rather tightly but whenever the Afghans got carried away by the WACA bounce and bowled short despite lacking the pace to make the ploy work, Warner swivelled and pulled them ferociously.
The belligerent southpaw hit Hamid Hassan, wearing a headband and with war paint on his face, for three boundaries in the 10th over to race to his 50 in 40 balls.
Warner broke loose after registering his fourth ODI century in 92 balls and hit Dawlat for back-to-back sixes, a treatment he handed out to Shapoor as well, as his next 50 came off 24 balls.
Smith also helped himself to his first fifty of the tournament but hardly anyone noticed, such was Warner’s domination at the other end.
Even after the 28-year-old southpaw’s exit, there was no respite for the Afghans as Maxwell unfurled his wide range of shots, cheeky as well as conventional slogging, to hit seven sixes and six boundaries in his sparkling knock.
This was the third 400-plus total in this year’s World Cup — South Africa posted the first two — and also the highest in tournament history bettering India’s 413-5 against Bermuda in the 2007 edition.