Aussies smash 324/6 against Kenya

Bangalore: Vice-captain Michael Clarke missed out on a maiden World Cup hundred but defending champions Australia piled up an imposing 324 for six against struggling minnows Kenya in their Group A match of the cricket World Cup here on Sunday.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, the Australians played it steady with Clarke making a 80-ball 93 while Brad Haddin (65) and the fit-again Mike Hussey (54) striking fifties.

Clarke smashed seven fours and a six in his innings.

For Kenya, Nehemiah Odhiambo and skipper Jimmy Kamande were the pick of the bowlers sharing five of the six Australian wickets that fell.

While Odhiambo managed 3/57 in his 10 overs, Kamande scalped two.

It was a slow start to the proceedings at the Chinniswamy Stadium with the Aussies losing their first wicket pretty early when opener Shane Watson (21) nicked one to wicketkeeper Maurice Ouma while attempting a cut off Nehemia Odhiambo.

Watson struck three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball cameo.

In came skipper Ricky Ponting and steadily put on 89 runs for the third wicket with Haddin. But Kamande managed to break the steady partnership when he had Haddin caught by Rakep Patel at deep midwicket.

Haddin, who perished in his attempt to go over the ropes, took 79 balls for his knock that was studded with nine fours and a six.

Four runs and exactly an over later, it was Ponting`s turn to head back to the pavillion when the Aussie captain was adjudged leg-before to Collins Obuya after a successful review by Kenya.

Ponting, who contributed an uncharacteristically slow 54-ball 36, was attempting to work the ball on the leg side when he got hit on the pad.

Umpire Richard Kettleborough ruled him not out but Kenya asked for a review and in replays it showed that the ball was hitting middle and leg stump.

Cameron White`s (2) poor run continued and he faced just one over before Kamande rattled his middle stump with his off-spin.

But Clarke and Hussey ensured that the Aussies didn`t feel any other hiccups for a considerable period and built a 114-run partnership for the fifth wicket before the latter was caught by David Obuya while attempting to strike Odhiambo over long on.

Hussey`s 43-ball knock comprised four boundaries.

Clarke looked well set for his maiden World Cup and sixth ODI hundred but fell short by seven runs when he holed out to Rakep Patel at long on off Odhiambo.