Ton-up Zadran takes Afghanistan to 291-5 against Australia

Afghanistan's Rashid Khan (R) greets his teammate Ibrahim Zadran (C) at the end of their team's inning during the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between Australia and Afghanistan at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 7 November, 2023.

Ibrahim Zadran scored Afghanistan's first World Cup hundred as the tournament's surprise package team made 291-5 against five-time champions Australia in a group match in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old opener's 129 not out was the cornerstone of Afghanistan's highest World Cup total, surpassing their 288 against the West Indies at Headingley in 2019.

It also left Australia facing a record chase, with the most they have made batting second to win a World Cup match their 287 against New Zealand in a 1996 quarter-final in Chennai.

And they will have to get those runs without star batsman Steve Smith, ruled out after suffering from vertigo.

Australia initially found wickets hard to come by after losing the toss in a match where a win would guarantee them a semi-final place.

But they largely kept Afghanistan -- in semi-final contention themselves following four wins in seven matches --in check until Zadran and Rashid Khan (35 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 58 in 28 balls.

Mitchell Starc suffered, with Rashid smashing him for two sixes in the last over -- the first flying over long-off before, despite crouching down, he still hit the left-arm quick high over square leg.

Starc finished with expensive figures of 1-70 in nine overs, while new-ball partner Josh Hazlewood took 2-39 in nine.

Zadran, after reaching his century, flicked Starc high over the legside in superb style.

He then hoisted Australia captain Pat Cummins for another well-struck six as Afghanistan looked to claim another famous scalp after already defeating reigning champions England, 1992 winners Pakistan and 1996 kings Sri Lanka at this tournament.

It was not until the 25th over that Australia had Afghanistan two wickets down, with Rahmat Shah tamely chipping recalled spinner Glenn Maxwell to long-off in a tame end to a stand of 83 off 100 balls with Zadran.

In-form Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, trying to accelerate, was yorked for 26 by Starc before Azmatullah Omarzai made a brisk 22, including two sixes.i

Zadran completed his fifth hundred in 27 one-day internationals, off 131 balls, including seven fours, with a dicey run off Hazlewood that turned into two after a throw at the stumps was off target.