Hussey and Symonds blast Australia to victory
Explosive seventies from Michael Hussey and Andrew Symonds led Australia to a four-wicket victory against New Zealand at Benoni. Chasing 183 to win, the match hung in the balance for a while before Australia stepped up the pace and clinched victory with ten balls to spare.
Australia's chase got off to a terrible start after Shane Bond removed Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden for ducks in the first over. It soon got worse when Brad Hodge fell with the score on 15 but his dismissal brought Hussey and Symonds together and they began Australia's aggressive recovery. Symonds belted 70 off 43 balls with eight fours and two sixes and added 113 with Hussey for the fourth wicket. Hussey accelerated once Symonds was dismissed and scored 72 off 44 balls with four sixes. By the time he was dismissed in the 19th over with Australia on 181, victory was within touching distance.
The most destructive innings of the match, however, came from Craig McMillan's bat. He blasted 60 off only 29 balls from No. 6 and hit five fours and four sixes. His half-century and Ross Taylor's 53 off 39 balls were the only substantial contributions that led New Zealand to 182 for 8. Ben Hilfenhaus bowled an exceptional spell, taking 3 for 11 off three overs.
Earlier at the same ground, a whirlwind 63 off 30 balls from Marlon Samuels led West Indies to a comfortable six-wicket victory against Kenya. Chasing 156 in their first warm-up match of the ICC World Twenty20, Shivnarine Chanderpaul remained unbeaten on 46 off 33 balls as West Indies reached the target with 2.3 overs to spare.
Samuels smashed three fours and six sixes during a 105-run stand for the third wicket with Chanderpaul after they had lost their first two wickets with the score on 38. Kenya's new-ball bowlers bowled tight spells, Peter Ongondo took 2 for 21 off his fours overs while Thomas Odoyo took 1 for 19 off 3.3 overs. The support bowlers, however, got hit for plenty. Rajesh Bhudia went for 42 in four overs and Steve Tikolo conceded as many in two.
The West Indian bowlers had backed up Ramnaresh Sarwan's decision to field by restricting Kenya to 155 for 5 in 20 overs. Kenya had lost David Obuya early but were on course for a sizable total after Maurice Ouma and Tanmay Mishra, who top-scored with 43, took them to 70 after 9.3 overs with eight wickets in hand. Fidel Edwards, although wicketless, conceded just 21 off his four overs and didn't allow the Kenyans to accelerate.
Sri Lanka's bowlers did an excellent job of restricting hosts South Africa to 161 for 9 in Potchefstroom before their batsmen knocked off the target with five wickets in hand and seven balls to spare.
After being put in, Graeme Smith stood firm at one end, scoring 46 off 35 balls, but South Africa lost Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers cheaply at the other. Justin Kemp hit three sixes during his 32 off 22 balls but South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could never build up momentum. It was left to Albie Morkel to boost the total to 150 by hitting 28 off 16 balls. Farveez Maharoof was Sri Lanka's most successful bowler with 3 for 31.
Sanath Jayasuriya gave Sri Lanka a solid start to the chase, scoring 46 off 34 balls. Upul Tharanga and Dilruwan Perera feel cheaply but all of the middle-order batsmen chipped in to see Sri Lanka home. Mahela Jayawardene remained unbeaten on 37 off 21 balls.
An outstanding spell from Umar Gul, taking 3 for 11 off four overs, spurred Pakistan to a 54-run win against Zimbabwe at Centurion. Shahid Afridi also scalped 3 for 17 as Zimbabwe were restricted to 127 for 8 in 20 overs, chasing Pakistan's 181.
A smattering of spectators watched a tepid warm-up match as Gul rocked Zimbabwe's chase by dismissing Vusi Sibanda and Chamu Chibhabha off successive deliveries with the score on 16. Hamilton Masakadza, who scored 41 off 37 balls, and Tatenda Taibu helped Zimbabwe recover by adding 76 off 10.5 overs but the slide began once Afridi dismissed Taibu. Zimbabwe went on to lose six wickets for 35 runs and their chase went off the rails.
Pakistan had also got off to a poor start, losing their first three wickets for 61 before Shoaib Mailk ran amok, scoring 64 off 37 balls. He hit four sixes and three fours and added 50 for the fourth wicket with Younis Khan. Malik dominated the innings towards the final overs and remained unbeaten as Pakistan stacked up 181 for 6.
Today's game might have been played in a low-key atmosphere but Centurion was expected to be sold out for Sunday's warm-up match between hosts South Africa and favourites Australia.
Bangladesh's Nazimuddin showed why he is one of the young players to watch for in this tournament as his unbeaten 74 helped his side ease to a six-wicket win over Scotland at Centurion. The chase was boosted by his second-wicket stand of 87 with Aftab Ahmed, and the target of 146 was reached with four overs to spare.
Nazimuddin's knock included nine fours and three sixes while Aftab's breezy 33 (off 27 balls) included five fours. The pair scored at more than 10 an over before Aftab fell to spinner Ross Lyons with the score on 95. Mohammad Ashraful and Shakib Al Hasan fell in quick succession but Nazimuddin ensured that Bangladesh were well on course to victory.
Earlier, Navdeep Poonia scored 54 to lift Scotland to a respectable total. Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak opened the bowling and pegged them back with early wickets before the middle order aided the recovery, stringing together a few partnerships with Poonia. His 54 came off 43 balls with four fours and two sixes.