There have been no surprises so far in the ICC Cricket World Cup.
The reigning champions and world’s No.1 team in the one-day format, Australia, eased past unfancied Zimbabwe. Australia posted a solid if unspectacular 262 in their 50 overs. Shane Watson top-scored with 79. Zimbabwe in response could not break free from the shackles of some tight Australian bowling, particularly from Mitchell Johnson who took four wickets for 19 runs. Zimbabwe’s batsmen hung around for 46 overs, perhaps keen to get some time in the middle under their belts in anticipation of more winnable matches later on. They finished though all out for 171.
Sri Lanka, who along with India and Bangladesh are co-hosting this event, had earlier put lowly Canada to the sword. In their allotted 50 overs, the free-hitting Sri Lankan batsmen racked up 332 for the loss of just seven wickets. Mahela Jayawardene (pictured) amassed 179 runs in just 137 balls. Canada never looked likely to get anywhere near their target and were duly bowled out for 122 in 36 overs, giving the Sri Lankans a 210-run win to open their World Cup account.
New Zealand thrashed Kenya in a match that lasted fewer than 32 overs out of a maximum of 100. Kenya batted first and made New Zealand’s attack look unplayable at times. Fast bowler Hamish Bennett took four Kenyan wickets for just 16 runs, while Tim Southee and Jacob Oram picked up the six remaining wickets for just 15 runs between them. Kenya, skittled for just 69, were unable to take a single Kiwi wicket, allowing New Zealand to stroll to victory in just eight overs.
Tournament favourites India also impressed but found tougher opposition in fellow tournament hosts Bangladesh. India’s batsmen posted a massive 370 for the loss of just four wickets in their 50 overs. Virender Sehwag swashed and buckled his way to a brutal 175, while Virat Kohli hit an unbeaten century in his first ever World Cup match. A run-rate of over a run-a-ball was always going to be a tall order for Bangladesh, who are relative newcomers to the established cricket order. However the Bangladeshis went about their task brightly, scoring 51 runs from the first five overs. That rate proved unsustainable though, particularly after the dismissal of the highly talented Tamim Iqbal for 70 runs. In the end, Bangladesh made 283 for nine wickets in their 50 overs, a decent score but still 87 runs short of their target.