Setting England 285 to win, Afghanistan bowled England out for only 212 in one of the biggest ever cricket world cup shocks, leaving England to live dangerously in the competition, following their second defeat in the tournament so far.
England came into this game on the back of a comfortable win over Bangladesh on Tuesday, whilst Afghanistan lost to the hosts India by eight wickets on Wednesday. England with 2 points and Afghanistan not winning a game all tournament until today.
England won the toss and captain Jos Buttler made Afghanistan bat first. Opening pair, Gurbaz and Zadran put on 114 for the opening wickets, Gurbaz hitting a 30 ball fifty. However, after his wicket, Afghanistan collapsed to 190-6 with Gurbaz getting ran out for 80 off 57 deliveries. Three wickets for Adil Rashid and two for Mark Wood the pick of the bowlers. England’s bowling was very lacklustre at times, allowing Afghanistan to get to 284 all out. Wicketkeeper Ikram Alikhil scored 58 from 66, with help from Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman helped Afghanistan rebuild after the fall of a few wickets in quick succession, still a very chaseable and doable total for a team like England, however it would prove far from easy for the defending World Cup champions.
England’s run chase began in the worst possible way as Jonny Bairstow was giving out LBW from the bowling off spinner Fazalhaq Farooqi for only two, Bairstow wasn’t happy with the decision, reviewed it but the DRS showed the ball was clipping the stumps and with the Umpire originally giving out that’s all that was needed to see Bairstow depart.
Five overs later, Joe Root was bowled by Mujeeb, with the ball keeping low and nothing Root could do about it. A few nice shots from Dawid Malan got him up to 32 before he was dismissed off the bowling off Mohammed Nabi, leaving England 68-3. A 30 run partnership between Harry Brook and Jos Buttler was broken when Buttler was bowled by Naveen to make it 91-4. Harry Brook hit a few boundaries before Liam Livingstone was out LBW by Rashid Khan to make it 117-5. England would fall to 138-6 then 160-6 with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes both losing their wickets cheaply. Seemed like it was only Harry Brook standing between Afghanistan and a famous victory, the Yorkshireman went on to get his fifty from 45 balls, before edging one to Alikhill for a well-played 66 and with that, any chance of England winning vanished. Mark Wood, Adil Rashid and Reece Topley all hit a few boundaries before Rashid Khan took the wickets of Rashid and Wood, Khan finishing with figures of 3-37 from 9 overs.
Jos Buttler said “it’s always about execution and throughout the game we were not at the level we wanted to be consistently enough, that’s the main area why we lost the game today.” England will be looking to bounce back against South Africa and with two defeats in the tournament already, it feels like a must win for Jos Buttler’s men. Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said : “ I am quite happy, the whole team is happy, this is the best win we have got,we will be full of confidence and it is great for our country, the belief, trust and talent is there, we’ve always believed, this won’t be the last win either.
A massive result for Afghanistan cricket and the whole country after a horrendous few years. England will look to bounce back on Saturday against South Africa in what feels like a must win game, Afghanistan will look to take their confidence from today into their game against New Zealand on Wednesday.