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Australia begin World Cup defence with convincing win over Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's Brendan Taylor is bowled by Australia's Shaun Tait during their clash at the Cricket World Cup.
Zimbabwe's Brendan Taylor is bowled by Australia's Shaun Tait during their clash at the Cricket World Cup.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Australia beat Zimbabwe at the Cricket World Cup
  • Defending champions triumph by 91 runs in Ahmedabad
  • Shane Watson hits 79 as Australia make 262-6 off their 50 overs
  • Zimbabwe fall to just 171 all out in their reply
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(CNN) -- Australia got their quest for a fourth-straight World Cup crown off to a solid start with a comfortable 91-run win over Zimbabwe in their opening game of the tournament.

The defending champions rarely looked in any trouble as they posted an impressive 262-6 from their 50 overs, before dismissing their opponents for just 171 in Ahmedabad, India.

Shane Watson was the catalyst for Australia's sizeable total, as he put on 61 for the first wicket with Brad Haddin before going on to complete an innings of 79 from 92 balls.

Captain Ricky Ponting raced to 28 but was run out after a direct hit from the deep by Zimbabwe fast bowler Chris Mpofu.

Vice-captain Michael Clarke chipped in with a handy knock of 58 not out to keep Australia's momentum up while some lusty late blows from David Hussey and Steve Smith ensured a total of 262.

Zimbabwe's opening pair of Brendan Taylor and Charles Coventry put on 22 for the first wicket before Brett Lee had the latter caught and bowled for 14.

Steady wickets followed as Mitchell Johnson accounted for Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine while spinner Jason Krejza dismissed captain Elton Chigumbura to leave Zimbabwe 88-5.

Hussey and Shaun Tait also claimed wickets but it was Johnson who mopped up the tail finishing with figures of 4-19 off his 9.2 overs.

It capped a frustrating opening three days for the tournament's minnows with Zimbabwe's defeat only marginally more respectable than those for Kenya and Canada on Sunday.

Wednesday's action sees World Twenty20 champions England take on Netherlands in Nagpur.