Watson and Clarke give Australia opening win

Australia 262-6 Zimbabwe 171
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Defending champions Australia extended their unbeaten streak in the World Cup to 29 matches with a 91-run win over Zimbabwe in their opening Group A game at Ahmedabad.

Batting first, Ricky Ponting's side endured testing spin conditions but Shane Watson's 79 and some late hitting by Michael Clarke (58 not out) took them to 262. In response, Mitchell Johnson picked up three wickets as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 171.

Zimbabwe's use of spin early on paid dividends when Brad Haddin was trapped lbw but Watson progressed to a half-century during a 50 partnership with Ponting (28). Australia put on 90 runs in the last 10 overs, with Cameron White, David Hussey and Steven Smith providing valuable support to Clarke.

The holders struck early in the run chase, with Charles Coventry (14) caught and bowled by Brett Lee and Tatenda Taibu caught at slip for seven.

Sean Williams (28) and captain Elton Chigumbura (14) steadied the innings with a 44-run stand for the fifth wicket before the latter lobbed a simple catch for wicketkeeper Haddin off Jason Krezja, while Williams fell soon after to Tait. Graeme Cremer and Prosper Utseya put on 49 for the eighth wicket but the target proved far too much.