David Warner glad to be back in the groove as Australia make winning start
Australia won by seven wickets against Afghanistan in Bristol
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 01/06/19 11:36pm
David Warner marked his return to competitive cricket with an unbeaten 89 before declaring: "It's good to be back".
Warner underpinned Australia's seven-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Bristol with a measured 89 not out from 114 balls on his and Steve Smith's official international return.
Fifteen months on from the fateful ball-tampering affair, Warner eschewed his characteristic aggressive instincts but his efforts helped Australia negotiate a potentially tricky World Cup opener.
"It's good to be back and it's a good win for us," Warner told Sky Sports. "We've got to keep the ball rolling.
"There were nerves getting back into the camp and getting back into the full intensity of training, but to come out and bowl the way we did helped us set the tone with the bat.
"The way I started out there, playing Twenty20 cricket over the last 12 to 14 months, I haven't really moved my feet at all, so to get back into the rhythm will help me move in the right direction.
"For us as batters we have to hold our nerve and get into the innings. There's a great buzz and energy about this team at this moment. It's one on the board and we now move onto the West Indies."
Warner, who highlighted the energy of Australia's young side, hit eight fours at a strike rate of 78.1 as he spent 136 minutes at the crease without surrendering his wicket in an unbeaten 89 from 114 balls.
Smith, too, made a telling contribution with a fantastic run out of Mohammad Nabi as Afghanistan succumbed to 207 all out after 38.2 overs, but the former Australia captain was out for 18 with the finishing line in sight.
Smith miscuing Mujeeb Ur Rahman to short third man proved to be the penultimate ball as Glenn Maxwell thumped the spinner for four after his arrival to the crease to wrap up victory with more than 15 overs to spare.
Aaron Finch had threatened to overshadow the competitive comebacks of Warner and Smith with a brutal display of power hitting in his 66 from 49 balls but his dismissal led to his opening partner completing the job.
Warner was booed on his arrival to the crease - as was Smith - and again after reaching his half-century but he refused to be deterred as Australia made an ideal start to the defence of the crown they won on home soil four years ago.
Finch was delighted with the controversial figure, however, telling Sky Sports: ""He's very important. He was struggling with the first part of his innings, to time the ball, but he kept hanging in there.
"You always have to remember that it's going to be harder for a new batsman coming in, too. It was great for him to kick on and do that job for us."