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Cool-headed Williamson gets NZ home

(AP Photo Ross Setford)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) As Kane Williamson's career has grown in stature over the past 12 months, he has established himself not just as a consistent batsman but a cool head and a man for a crisis.

He had to be all of those things on Saturday as he struggled - alone - to hold together a decaying New Zealand innings and lead his team to a one-wicket win over Australia in a thrilling clash between the Cricket World Cup co-hosts.

Williamson came to the wicket as first drop when New Zealand was in a relatively commanding position of 40-1, chasing Australia's inadequate total of 151. He watched Brendon McCullum hit 50 to boost the run-chase before New Zealand's innings fell into a steady and worrying decline.


Clarke defends key bowling changes

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) Australia captain Michael Clarke has disputed claims he made a tactical blunder in his use of bowlers during Saturday's loss to New Zealand at the World Cup.

Australia was fighting its way back into the match, defending its meager total of 151, and Mitchell Starc had taken three wickets in five balls when Clarke removed him from the attack and brought in Mitchell Johnson. (MORE)

New Zealand edge Aussies by one wicket

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) New Zealand scraped home in a thrilling finish against Australia in Saturday's clash of the Cricket World Cup co-hosts, with Kane Williamson hitting a six to give the Black Caps a one-wicket win after Australia had threatened a remarkable victory.

Having bowled out Australia for just 151, New Zealand looked set to inflict a humiliating defeat on its neighbor when it cruised to 78-1 in the eighth over, but some superb bowling by Mitchell Starc (6-28) breathed new life into the contest. (MORE)

India thrash UAE by nine wickets

PERTH, Australia (AP) Offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin returned a career-best 4-25 to set up defending champion India's nine-wicket win over second-tier United Arab Emirates in a World Cup Pool B match on Saturday.

After dismissing the UAE for a paltry 102, India raced to 104 for one in 18.5 overs. Opener Rohit Sharma top scored with an unbeaten 57 and shared a match-winning 75-run partnership with Virat Kohli, who finished 33 not out. (MORE)

Misbah targets win against Zimbabwe

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Misbah-ul-Haq can't see any reason for his Pakistan squad to panic, despite two losses from two starts at the Cricket World Cup.

Pakistan plays Zimbabwe on Sunday in a crucial Pool B match for both teams. (MORE)

England look to find form at Wellington

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) England hopes it can vanquish memories of its last disastrous encounter in Wellington when it plays Sri Lanka on Sunday in a Pool A match that's become important to the Cricket World Cup quarterfinal chances of both teams.

A week ago, England lost at the so-called "Cake Tin" stadium in one of the most lopsided matches in its history. It managed to score just 123 runs against New Zealand, which smashed its way to victory in 12.2 overs for the loss of two wickets, and that came after a big loss to Australia in its opener. (MORE)

AB smashes record 162 in crushing win

SYDNEY (AP) AB de Villiers scored the second-fastest century ever in a World Cup in a display of brutal hitting Friday, setting South Africa on course for a record-equaling 257-run win over West Indies.

De Villiers made an unbeaten 162 off 66 balls, with 17 boundaries and eight sixes, as he dismantled the West Indies' attack and pushed South Africa to 408-5 - the second-highest total ever at the World Cup. (MORE)

West Indies exposed by De Villiers blitz

SYDNEY (AP) The erratic nature of West Indies cricket was on full view at the World Cup in a record-equaling 257-run defeat to South Africa on Friday.

Only days after a resounding 73-run win against Zimbabwe in Canberra, including a World Cup record innings of 215 from opener Chris Gayle, the West Indies slumped dramatically with bat and ball to sink to the largest margin of defeat in the tournament's history - matching Bermuda's 257-run loss to India at Trinidad in 2007. (MORE)

Clarke relishes World Cup "local derby"

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) Australia captain Michael Clarke describes it as "a local derby" and suggests it will be infused with all of the qualities that term implies, of long-standing and spirited rivalry played out in front of passionate fans.

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum says Saturday's Pool A match at Eden Park between the Cricket World Cup co-hosts, hugely anticipated and possibly offering a glimpse of the tournament final, is not "life or death - just a game of cricket." (MORE)

Eden Park a challenging World Cup venue

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) Eden Park, New Zealand's largest stadium, was designed to host rugby matches, not cricket.

So when Australia takes on New Zealand in a Cricket World Cup match on Saturday, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said the park's rectangular shape and short boundaries will prove to be a challenge to both sides. (MORE)

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