NEW ZEALAND had a resounding win over South Africa while Sri Lanka was beaten by Zimbabwe in surprising results from two of Wednesday’s four Cricket World Cup warm-up matches.
Elsewhere, Pakistan beat England by four wickets in Sydney, and Australia had an easy win over the United Arab Emirates in Melbourne.
Cup co-host New Zealand continued its impressive recent form by beating favored South Africa by 134 runs in Christchurch. Brendon McCullum made 59 and Kane Williamson 66 as New Zealand scored 331-8 in 50 overs before bowling out South Africa for 197.
Sri Lanka’s confidence took a big hit when Zimbabwe surpassed its total of 281-3 in only 45.2 overs, led by Hamilton Masakadza’s unbeaten 117 from 119 balls in Lincoln, New Zealand.
Sri Lanka opens the tournament against New Zealand on Saturday in Christchurch.
Michael Clarke returned from hamstring surgery to captain Australia and top-score against the UAE with 64 runs as the hosts, winning the toss, won by 188 runs. Australia made 304-8 before restricting the UAE to 116 in 30.1 overs.
Clarke, who opened the batting, had been given until Feb. 21, when Australia takes on Bangladesh in Brisbane, to prove his fitness for the tournament.
He was not expected to take part in Australia’s opener against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but Wednesday’s performance might change that.
“We’ll sum it up tomorrow, see how he pulls up,” coach Darren Lehmann said. “The fielding is going to be the big thing. He’s been batting really well for the last couple of weeks, so no dramas there.”
At the Sydney Cricket Ground, Misbah-ul-Haq scored an unbeaten 91 as Pakistan beat England.
England won the toss and totaled 250-8, with Joe Root making 85 and Gary Ballance adding 57. But Pakistan reached 252-6 with seven balls to spare.
Pakistan, just behind England in the one-day rankings, opens its World Cup campaign on Sunday in Adelaide against neighbor and chief rival India.
Dimuth Karunaratne top-scored with 58 in Sri Lanka’s 279-8 after winning the toss against Zimbabwe. Jeevan Mendis made 51 and Mahela Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirimanne both made 30, but none of the top-order batsmen were able to go on and make a big score.
New Zealand was also emphatic in its win over South Africa, which plays its first match on Sunday against Zimbabwe in Hamilton. The innings of McCullum and Williamson, with support from Ross Taylor (41), Martin Guptill (26) and Grant Elliott (24), set a strong platform for the Black Caps.Advertisement
South Africa was in trouble at 62-6 with captain AB de Villiers— returning after a right hip injury—out for 24. JP Duminy made 80 from 98 balls, and Vernon Philander 57 from 84 balls, but their slow partnership left South Africa with little chance of running down New Zealand’s total.