England Wins Cricket Opener; McCullum Sets Record
Defending champion England routed Afghanistan by 116 runs in its opening game at the World Twenty20 cricket championship in Sri Lanka, while Brendon McCullum scored a record 123 as New Zealand beat Bangladesh.
Luke Wright scored an unbeaten 99, with six sixes, as England finished 196-5 after being put in to bat in the Group A game in Colombo. Captain Stuart Broad, Samit Patel, Jade Dernbach and Graeme Swann then took two wickets each as Afghanistan was bowled out for 80 with 16 balls remaining.
“We’re delighted with that performance, it’s a great way to start the tournament,” Broad said in the postgame presentation. “Hopefully we can kick off from here.”
Afghanistan lost eight wickets for 26 in the first nine overs to threaten the Twenty20 international record for lowest score of 67 runs set by Kenya against Ireland in 2008. It then rebounded late with Gulbodin Naib top-scoring on 44.
The victory qualified England for the next round after just one game. India also advanced, while Afghanistan was eliminated after losing both of its games. England and India face each other in the final Group A match in two days.
New Zealand won the day’s opening game in Pallekele by 59 runs as McCullum’s total, off 58 balls, was the highest score in an international Twenty20 match. It eclipsed the previous mark of 117 set by South African Richard Levi against New Zealand in February and made the 30-year-old the first batsman with two centuries in the format.
“It’s a game which does suit me and my style of play,” McCullum said on the tournament website. “This one is really up there with among the best Twenty20 knocks that I have played.”
James Franklin added 35 runs as New Zealand finished 191-3 after being put into bat in the Group D game. Tim Southee then took 3-16 and Kyle Mills was 3-33 as the Black Caps limited Bangladesh to 132-8 in its 20 overs.
The top two in each of the four groups go through to a Super Eight stage, from which the top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals. The final is in Colombo on Oct. 7.
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