Australia too strong for Afghanistan
Afghanistan were well beaten but not disgraced in their first meeting with Australia: a 66-run one-day international defeat at Sharjah.
Matthew Wade and captain Michael Clarke made 75 apiece as Australia posted a competitive 272 for eight in 50 overs.
A stand of 86 from Asghar Stanikzai and Mohammad Nabi gave hope to Afghanistan, who were dismissed in the 44th over as Mitchell Starc took 4-47 and James Pattinson 3-46.
Clarke opted to bat first on a wicket he described as “concrete” in the one-off game ahead of Australia’s three ODIs with Pakistan and David Warner raced to 24 from 18 balls until he edged Shapoor Zadran behind.
Clarke then joined Wade in a second-wicket alliance of 131, the former looking comfortable against spin but the latter - dropped on 32 at midwicket - struggling in the intense heat.
Nabi ended Wade's 108-ball innings with a sharp return catch and had debutant Glenn Maxwell, promoted during the batting powerplay, held at long-on in his next over.
In the next, Clarke was stumped off Samiullah Shenwari after hitting three fours and two sixes from 94 deliveries.
David Hussey was run out on 13, but Mike Hussey and George Bailey provided some late impetus with 49 from 37 balls and 23 from 16 respectively. Bailey, Hussey and Pattinson were bowled in the last two overs, the former by Zadran and the others by Karim Sadiq.
Starc cleaned up openers Javed Ahmadi and Sadiq in the compulsory powerplay, for nought and 17 respectively, before Pattinson had Mohammad Shahzad caught behind and Nawroz Mangal lbw for a duck in the same over to leave Afghanistan 49 for four.
Stanikzai and Nabi rebuilt, the latter’s six from his 26th ball trebling his score. He then accelerated before being bowled for 46 by Mitchell Johnson.
Stanikzai, shelled on 29 at midwicket, advanced to a measured half-century from 95 balls featuring three boundaries.
He then hit three fours in one Starc over before dragging the last ball to midwicket where Clarke held on to send the batsman on his way for 66.
Three wickets fell in three overs as Johnson had Najibullah Zadran caught behind and Starc bowled Shenwari with a slower delivery.
Gulbodin Naib struck a 17-ball 22 until being caught behind off Pattinson and Xavier Doherty had Dawlat Zadran held at midwicket to complete victory.