The Australian twins, Mark and Steve Waugh, combined for a World Cup record partnership of 207 to set up a comprehensive win in their opening Group A match against Kenya in Vishakhapatnam, India, yesterday.
However, the tournament favourites' pace bowler, Craig McDermott, tore a calf muscle and is doubtful for Australia's remaining group matches and may even be out of the competition. Mark Taylor, the Australian captain, said a decision on McDermott would be made today. "It's a recurrence of the same injury he thought he'd got rid of. A replacement is definitely an option for us."
McDermott was forced off the field after bowling just three overs as Kenya began their pursuit of Australia's 304 for 7. He had time to dismiss the Kenyan opener, Dipak Chudasama.
The Waugh twins' partnership of 207 in 33 overs surpassed the previous highest World Cup stand for any wicket of 195, set by Gordon Greenidge and Larry Gomes for the West Indies against Zimbabwe at Worcester in 1983. Mark Waugh contributed a high-class 130 in as many balls, while elder brother Steve hit 82 off 88 deliveries, having arrived at the crease with his team wobbling on 26 for 2.
Taylor and Ricky Ponting were both sent back inside eight overs as Kenya's opening attack justified captain Maurice Odumbe's decision to field first.
Kenya kept the Australians at full stretch for much of their reply until wicketkeeper Kennedy Otieno was forced to retire through exhaustion in the 35th over, having scored 82. The 23-year-old returned with a runner but managed only three more as Kenya finished on 207 for 7.
Otieno's initial departure abruptly ended the game as a contest, but the freedom of his and Odumbe's strokeplay during a stand of 102 in 18 overs helped confirm Kenya as the most dangerous of the non-Test playing nations.