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AB shines with 162 from 66 balls as South Africa thrash West Indies

AB was in fine form. Credit: Reuters

Another awe-inspiring batting display from AB de Villiers helped South Africa to a crushing 257-run World Cup Group B victory against West Indies in Sydney.

De Villiers needed only 31 balls against West Indies to record the fastest ever one-day international century in January, and tormented their bowlers once again by smashing an unbeaten 162 from 66 balls to help South Africa to 408 for five from their 50 overs - their highest-ever World Cup score.

Watch highlights of the match tonight on ITV4 at 10pm.

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Kevin Pietersen supports England Twenty20 franchise

Kevin Pietersen has lauded the "brilliant" prospect of Twenty20 franchise cricket coming into the English game.

Pietersen wants a Twenty20 franchise in England. Credit: PA

The new England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, Colin Graves, will take up his position in May and has expressed enthusiasm for launching an English Premier League.

It could operate along the lines of the highly successful Indian Premier League and Australian Big Bash, with county teams compounded into a smaller number of franchise sides, based in major cities.

Pietersen wrote on Twitter:

New @ECB_cricket chairman wants a T20 English franchise tournament! Absolutely brilliant! Forward thinking & brilliant for all players!

Better late than never! Good sign for future of English Cricket. I've been saying it for 6yrs! Just to wrong management!"

– Kevin Pietersen

Gayle inspires 73-run West Indies win over Zimbabwe

Chris Gayle rediscovered his mojo in spectacular fashion on Tuesday with the first ever World Cup double century to drive West Indies to a 73-run victory over Zimbabwe in their Pool B clash at Manuka Oval.

All hail Chris Gayle! Credit: Reuters

The opener's 215 was the highest individual innings in a World Cup match, the third highest in any one-day international, and formed the large part of a 372-run partnership with Marlon Samuels (133 not out), also an one-day record.

The dreadlocked 35-year-old slugged 16 sixes -- tying the one-day record -- as well as 10 fours in his 147-ball knock and even though he was dismissed with the last ball of the innings, West Indies were set fair at 372 for two. Zimbabwe had their run-chase trimmed to 363 from 48 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis method after rain briefly interrupted the contest and they initially made a good fist of it.

Brendan Taylor was unfortunate to be dismissed for 37 after a controversial third umpire referral and middle order batsmen Sean Williams (76) and Craig Ervine (52) also put in good shifts.

When Gayle (2-35) returned with the ball to dismiss Ervine and Stuart Matsikenyeri (19) with his off-spin, however, the writing was on the wall for Zimbabwe and they were all out for 289 in the 45th over.

New Zealand without five for England tour

Tim Southee will be in India. Credit: PA

New Zealand are set to start their tour of England later this year without five key players due to the Indian Premier League.

McCullum, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Corey Anderson are all set to be playing for the IPL, so won't be available for their country.

Clearly it is not ideal preparation for us.

But the bottom line is some of our players have the chance to participate in the IPL - and in order to be picked up, we had to allow them a playing window.

If we had truncated that it would have reduced their marketability.

They can earn money in the IPL that we can't contemplate paying them.

But it was important to us, and important to them, that they don't miss any internationals - so we came up with an arrangement that they were all back in time to play in the first Test.

– New Zealand Cricket spokesman

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Morgan: Win will bring England confidence

Captain Eoin Morgan says England will be boosted by their win over Scotland after two humiliating defeats.

Moeen Ali struck 128 to give England the edge over their rivals, as they went on to win by 119 runs.

Eoin Morgan saw his side win their first World Cup game. Credit: Reuters

"I don't think there was ever a state of panic. We had two hard games and the fact we didn't perform was disappointing," Morgan said.

"A win just puts things a little more at ease. It gives guys a little bit of confidence even the guys who didn't perform today.

"Talking to guys who had a little bit of success today will be good for them."

England improve to see off Scotland

Moeen Ali's second one-day international century helped England get off the mark at the World Cup with a comfortable 119-run win over Scotland in Christchurch.

Moeen ensured any jitters following Friday's Wellington humiliation against New Zealand were quickly eased as he cracked 128 from 107 balls and shared in a record opening stand of 172 with Ian Bell.

Moeen Ali struck a ton. Credit: Reuters

From there England were always in control of the potential banana-skin contest, even though they did not fully exploit the foundation laid by the openers in reaching 303 for eight.

It was a target that proved beyond Scotland, still searching for a first World Cup win in their third visit to the tournament, as they were bowled out for 184 in 42.2 overs.

Steven Finn bounced back from his Brendon McCullum mauling - when his two overs against New Zealand cost 49 - by taking three for 26 while Moeen followed his century with figures of two for 47.

Kyle Coetzer top-scored with 71 for Scotland after Josh Davey took four for 68.

Shikhar Dhawan century inspires India to win

Shikhar Dhawan's century led India to a comprehensive 130-run win over South Africa in World Cup Pool B.

Dhawan put on 127 with Virat Kohli and 125 with Ajinkya Rahane as India reached 307 for seven in Melbourne.

Shikhar Dhawan hits a shot. Credit: PA

That total looked as though it could have been even higher but it proved quite sufficient as, despite a third-wicket stand of 68 between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals on their way to 177 all out.

Almost 10 overs were left unused as what had been billed as a blockbuster match-up petered out into a one-sided contest.

India's fans were loving life in Melbourne today. Credit: PA

Watch Cricket World Cup highlights on ITV4 tonight at 10pm

Swann critical of 'crazy' England for 'muddled' strategy

Graeme Swann feels England were "crazy" to change their World Cup batting line-up at short notice - but still believes they can turn their tournament around.

Swann still thinks England can turn things around. Credit: PA

The in-form James Taylor was dropped down the order to number six to accommodate Gary Ballance's return in place of Ravi Bopara for the competition opener against Australia.

Defeats in that game and against New Zealand - the latter an eight-wicket hammering having been bowled out for 123 - have left Peter Moores' side with an uphill task to make the quarter-finals.

And former Three Lions spinner Swann told BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme:

I don't think the strategy's been clear. Every player hasn't got a clear and concise role. The Kiwis have been building up to this World Cup for four years and every player absolutely knows his role - Ashley Giles said that last night.

England changed their batting line-up the morning of the World Cup against Australia, Gary Ballance is suddenly brought back in, James Taylor's down to number six, Ravi Bopara taken out of the squad - that was crazy, in my book.

It's muddled, it's not clear. (Captain) Eoin Morgan wants to play a very expressive, aggressive form of cricket; I'm not sure Peter Moores completely agrees with that and I don't know how easily that relationship is going to fare.

But if they actually play well for the next four games - beat Sri Lanka heavily, destroy Scotland - if they do that, all this anger and emotion will disappear.

– England cricketer Graeme Swann

Watch Cricket World Cup highlights on ITV4 tonight at 10pm

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