Warner warming up as Aussies get first win

David Warner struck an unbeaten 89 as Australia eased past Afghanistan in their World Cup opener.
David Warner struck an unbeaten 89 as Australia eased past Afghanistan in their World Cup opener.

David Warner only looked like he was warming up in Australia's seven-wicket win over Afghanistan, but the signs were there that it won't be long before he hits top gear.

Back in Australia's side for the first time since his 12-month ban expired, Warner was man of the match in his team's World Cup opener in Bristol.

After Aaron Finch dismantled any hopes of an upset by blasting their spinners early, Warner hit 89no as the Aussies cruised to the target of 208 with 15.1 overs to spare.

Crucial, given the reality is Australia need him firing at the top if they are to defend their title

The 32-year-old admitted he'd been nervous re-entering the Australian camp last month.

"I think it was just nerves getting back into the camp and the full intensity of training," he said.

"The way I started out there (against Afghanistan), playing Twenty20 cricket over the last 12-14 months hasn't really moved my feet at all.

"To get back into rhythm out there and start moving to the ball, that was just great to get out there and do that."

Warner's runs didn't come at his usual rapid rate, but it didn't need to while Finch worked his magic at the other end.

He helped take 10 of Mujeeb Ur Rahman's first over and 14 off his next.

Rashid Khan's first over then went for 14, including a massive six from a half-tacker over mid wicket from Finch.

He was eventually caught at deep cover for 66 off just 49 balls from a Gulbadin Naib slower ball, while Usman Khawaja (15) and Steve Smith (18) both followed.

But still, Warner was there at the end after 114 balls.

"I like that knock," allrounder Marcus Stoinis said.

"It's just be there, do what's got to be done for the team. Be not out and get the job done nice and clinical.

"That's what the best players do, they have off days and they still hit 90-odd not out. It's a good start for him to spend that time in the middle."

Australia will also like what they saw from their bowlers ahead of Thursday's clash with West Indies.

First-choice spinner Adam Zampa claimed three vital scalps with his wickets each coming when Australia most needed them.

He ended a 51-run third wicket partnership between Hashmatullah Shahidi (18) and Rahmat Shah (43), sliding one past a charging Shahidi's bat to have him stumped before Rahmat fell to the legspinner at cover.

Then he was called upon again later in the innings, trapping Rashid Khan (27) lbw as he looked to improve on a 39-run partnership between he and Mujeeb that came off just 15 balls.

Australia's quicks also made their presence felt as both Afghanistan's openers fell for ducks, with Pat Cummins finishing with 3-40.

Mitchell Starc (1-31) also struck off his third ball just as he did in the 2015 final, clean bowling Mohammad Shahzad and regularly clocking in at close to 150km/h.

Marcus Stoinis also took 2-37 as only Nathan Coulter-Nile went wicketless.

Australian Associated Press