ICC World Cup: ENG vs AFG | Gritty Afghanistan leaves England shell-shocked

Afghans got their act right at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground to pull off the biggest upset of the World Cup by stunning defending champion England.

October 15, 2023 06:28 pm | Updated October 16, 2023 05:45 pm IST - New Delhi

Afghanistan players celebrate after taking a wicket during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against England in New Delhi on October 15, 2023.

Afghanistan players celebrate after taking a wicket during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 against England in New Delhi on October 15, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

In the past, Afghanistan has let teams like India and Pakistan off the hook in the World Cup. The gritty fighters, with a display of fearless trading of wickets for quick runs, have often paid the price for their inexperience in dealing with the ‘big’ moments of the game.

Finally on October 15, the ‘hunted’ became the hunter.

The Afghans got their act right at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground to pull off the biggest upset of the World Cup by stunning defending champion England.

Surprisingly asked to bat, Afghanistan posted 284 — its second highest in the World Cup — and then delivered repeated blows on an unsuspecting England to script a historic 69-run victory. This ended Afghanistan’s 14-match losing streak in the World Cup since 2015.

Coincidentally, the result left both teams with a one-win-two-loss record and pushed Australia to the bottom of the points table.

It took time for the Englishmen to realise what hit them. If they thought they could cruise to their target much like India did on Wednesday, they were in for a rude shock.

After seamer Fazal Farooqi trapped Jonny Bairstow leg-before, the spin trio of Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan shared eight wickets.

Joe Root played the wrong line, in-form Dawid Malan chipped to short extra-cover. Harry Brook, who kept alive the fast-fading English hopes, watched helplessly as Jos Buttler was bowled, Liam Livingstone fell leg-before, Sam Curran offered a low catch to the lone slip fielder and Chris Woakes was castled.

Brooks, after playing a lone hand with a 61-ball 66, became Rahman’s third victim with the wicketkeeper completing the dismissal. The last two wickets took the score from 169 to 215 by using the long-handle effectively before falling to Rashid Khan.

Earlier, relying on the experience of playing India here four nights ago, Afghanistan posted what turned out to be a match-winning total.

England was left off-balance with the contrasting approach of the Afghan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran. Gurbaz dominated the 114-run stand by contributing 75 when Zadran became Adil Rashid’s first of the three victims.

The stumping of new-man Rahmat Shah and the run-out of Gurbaz off successive deliveries brought England back in the game. But Ikram Ali’s fighting 58 and retrieving stands of 43 with Rashid and 44 with Rahman ensured Afghanistan improved over its tally of 272/8 scored against India but fell short of its best of 288 scored against West Indies in 2019.

Scoreboard

Afghanistan innings: Rahmanullah Gurbaz run out 80 Ibrahim Zadran c Root b Adil Rashid 28 Rahmat Shah st Jos Buttler b Adil Rashid 3 Hashmatullah Shahidi b Root 14 Azmatullah Omarzai c Chris Woakes b Livingstone 19 Ikram Alikhil c Sam Curran b R Topley 58 Mohammad Nabic Root b Mark Wood 9 Rashid Khan c Root b Adil Rashid 23 Mujeeb Ur Rahman c Root b Mark Wood 28 Naveen-ul-Haqrun out 5 Fazalhaq Farooqi not out 2 Extras: (lb-1, w-11, nb-3) 15

Total: 284 all out in 49.5 overs

Fall of wickets: 1-114, 2-122, 3-122, 4-152, 5-174, 6-190, 7-233, 8-277, 9-277

England bowling: Chris Woakes 4-0-41-0, Reece Topley 8.5-1-52-1, Sam Curran 4-0-46-0, Adil Rashid 10-1-42-3, Mark Wood 9-0-50-2, Liam Livingstone 10-0-33-1, Joe Root 4-0-19-1.

England Innings: Jonny Bairstow lbw b Fazalhaq Farooqi 2 Dawid Malan c Ibrahim Zadran b Nabi 32 Joe Root b Mujeeb 11 Harry Brook c Ikram Alikhil b Mujeeb 66 Jos Buttler b Naveen-ul-Haq 9 Liam Livingstone lbw b Rashid Khan 10 Sam Curran c Rahmat b Nabi 10 Chris Woakes b Mujeeb 9 Adil Rashid c Nabi b Rashid Khan 20 Mark Wood b Rashid Khan 18 Recce Topley not out 15 Extras: (LB-4, W-8, NB-1) 13

Total: (10 wkts, 40.3 Overs) 215

Fall of Wickets: 1-3, 2-33, 3-68, 4-91, 5-117, 6-138, 7-160, 8-169, 9-198, 10-215.

Afghanistan bowling: Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10-1-51-3, Fazalhaq Farooqi 7-0-50-1, Naveen-ul-Haq 6-1-44-1, Mohammad Nabi 6-0-16-2, Rashid Khan 9.3-1-37-3, Azmatullah Omarzai 2-0-13-0.

(With inputs from PTI)

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