Potchefstroom: Australia’s World Cup campaign received an early boost on Tuesday when their injured bowlers Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Jason Gillespie came through a warm-up match with flying colours.
Warne captured two wickets while McGrath and Gillespie collected one each as the tournament favourites crushed South African province North West by 151 runs.
The defending champions hardly raised a sweat on a warm and sunny day as they racked up 280 in their 50 overs before dismissing the locals for 129 in 41.4 overs. McGrath took one for 11 from six overs, Warne grabbed two for 14 from seven overs and Gillespie one for 27 from six. Brett Lee took three for 27 from five overs.
In Paarl, South Africa got their preparations back on track with a seven-wicket win over provincial side Boland. They had suffered a humiliating seven-wicket defeat by domestic champions Western Province on Saturday.
After the home side won the toss and posted 205 for nine from their 50 overs, the South Africans reached their target with nearly 10 overs to spare.
In Port Elizabeth, Paul Collingwood and Alec Stewart struck half-centuries as England eased to a five-wicket win over Eastern Province.
Collingwood made 78 and Stewart an unbeaten 55, the pair sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 104 as England, who had slumped to 31 for three, reached their target of 174 with 10 overs to spare. Eastern Province struggled to 173 for nine from their 50 overs, with Andy Caddick and Andrew Flintoff taking two wickets each.
In Benoni, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming was happy with his side’s performance after their comfortable 78-run victory over Easterns. New Zealand posted a total of 208 for seven in 50 overs after being put into bat on a difficult pitch, before dismissing the hosts for 130, Jacob Oram taking five wickets. Chris Harris top-scored for the New Zealanders with 51, while opener Nathan Astle made 42.
In Johannesburg, allrounder Abdul Razzaq took three wickets in five balls to help a lacklustre Pakistan side beat Gauteng. Pakistan, who made 264 for seven from their 50 overs, won by 24 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis scoring method after rain and bad light forced the umpires to call off the match.
Gauteng had reached 123 for four when the players were forced off, to the disappointment of a crowd of around 3,000 in the Johannesburg suburb of Lenasia. Razzaq completed figures of three for 25 from five overs, but the Pakistanis dropped three simple catches in a generally unimpressive fielding display.
Despite useful knocks by Saleem Elahi (43) and Yousuf Youhana (32), Pakistan struggled to 201 for seven. Akram and captain Waqar Younis then shared a partnership of 63 runs from 57 balls to take their side to a respectable total.
In Kimberley, Sri Lanka defeated Griqualand by seven wickets. The match was reduced to 36 overs after morning rain delayed the start.
Excellent spells by Chaminda Vaas and Dilhara Fernando saw them conceding only 16 runs in 10 overs, seeing the provincial squad end at 163 for eight. Sri Lankan openers Maravan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya raced to 46 in eight overs. Atapattu finished with 76 not out, scored off 90 balls.