England start T20 World Cup with Afghanistan win

England start T20 World Cup with Afghanistan win

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Group 1 Perth
Afghanistan 112 (over 19.4): Curran 5-10, Stokes 2-19, Woods 2-23; Ibrahim 32
England 113-5 (18.1 overs): Livingstone 29*, Hales 19, Nabi 1-16
England won by five wickets

England bowlers secured a five-wicket win over Afghanistan as Jos Buttler’s side made a winning start to the T20 World Cup in Perth.

Sam Curran took 5-10 – England’s first five-wicket run in the men’s T20s – in a comprehensive bowling performance, which was backed by a phenomenal display of catches.

Curran claimed four wickets from six kills after Mark Wood and Ben Stokes took two wickets apiece as Afghanistan were knocked out for 112 in 19.4 overs.

However, England’s fielding was equally remarkable – a fine high catch from Adil Rashid and a bounding one-handed catch from wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, the highlights.

England’s batting order missed in the chase, slipping to 97-5 against Afghanistan’s massive onslaught, but the target was probably never defensible.

Liam Livingstone finished 29 paces as England, 2021 World Cup semi-finalists and among the favorites again, won with 11 balls remaining.

Early in the day, New Zealand surprised hosts and defending champions Australia in the same group. England slip behind the Black Caps in second place.

Their next match is against Ireland on Wednesday, followed by Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground two days later.

England win the game on the pitch

Their negligence with the bat will take some of the shine out of victory but, after a shocking week in the first group stage, England will simply be happy to avoid a similar fate against a dangerous Afghan side.

The batters lacked a ruthless upside, but their on-field performance was as good as any in recent memory.

Wood started a period of ferociously paced bowling – the fastest on record at a T20 World Cup – by catching Rahmanullah Gurbaz behind with his first ball to start the third again.

After that, the catch clinic started.

First, Liam Livingstone sprinted from deep cover before diving to hang on to see Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Then Moeen Ali ran to take one over his shoulder from extra cover as Ibrahim Zadran – Afghanistan’s top scorer – was sent off for a run-a-ball 32.

The choice was Rashid’s. He came back from the middle of the wicket to catch a Najibullah Zadran skier in the night sky before captain Mohammad Nabi gave one to the Buttler diving from the side of Wood’s leg.

It was a performance that gave the England batters plenty of breathing room – one they surprisingly needed.

Curran keeps delivering

Playing in his first World Cup, Curran had a wicket for eight runs when he started the 18th, with Afghanistan still holding out hope of taking their tally to 106-5.

Ten balls later he had bettered England’s previous best figures – Adil Rashid’s 4-2 against the West Indies in 2021.

The versatile 24-year-old has quickly become England’s go-to bowler. Again he closed the innings impressively with slower ball bouncers.

“At the start of the game I didn’t expect to go like this, but it was a great performance from the boys,” Curran said.

Stokes was also impressive, winning first and earning his two wickets.

Basically, if the all-rounder plays with the ball, it allows England to continue playing their seven most powerful hitters.

England miss opportunity to increase net run rate

At the start of the chase, England would have hoped to win by a significant margin.

Doing so would have increased their net run rate, which could be significant if they find themselves level on points with any other team at the end of this group stage.

Instead, they lost openers Jos Buttler and Alex Hales – both caught deep in the leg – for 18 and 17 respectively. Hales had already been dropped twice by then.

The spinners then prevailed and England could not achieve their fluid form. Ben Stokes was thrown for two by Mohammed Nabi, who then caught Dawid Malan for a big 18 from 30 balls wide of Mujeeb ur Rahman.

Had Afghanistan taken those chances, the game might have been different, but in reality, they never got enough points.

Livingstone hit three fours, showing glimpses of form on his return from injury, which could prove crucial as England head to Melbourne to continue their quest for a second men’s T20 World Cup title.

#England #start #T20 #World #Cup #Afghanistan #win

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.