Latest Match Report – Afghanistan vs England Match 13 2023/24

 – Gudstory

Latest Match Report – Afghanistan vs England Match 13 2023/24 – Gudstory

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Afghanistan 284 (Gurbaz 80, Alikhil 58, Adil Rashid 3-42, Wood 2-50) beat England 215 (Brook 66, Malan 32, Rashid Khan 3-37, Mujeeb 3-51, Al Nabi 2-16) with 69 points.

Afghanistan secured the most famous scalp in their international history, and in the process delivered the first major shock of the 2023 World Cup, defeating the world champions England by 69 points on a professional training course under the floodlights of Delhi.

Their dominance began with a fearless display of power-hitting from 21-year-old Rahmanullah Gurbaz, whose 80 off 57 promised so much more until he unseated him in his prime. But Ikram Alikhel led Afghanistan with a valuable half-century on their World Cup debut, and they then set about making the 285-run target seem as bleak and distant as England’s hopes of defending their title must now feel.

If England, after winning the toss and choosing to chase, assumed that the second half of the match would be a cakewalk to match the target of 283 passed by New Zealand in the opening match of the tournament, those notions were shot down during a stunning attacking power play from their opponents.

Jos Buttler’s decision to bowl at second appears to have been influenced by the possibility of the ball sliding into bat under the floodlights. But instead, the evening’s conditions exacerbated the natural traits of both Afghanistan bowlers, not least Fazlul Haq Farooqi and Mujibur Rahman, from the start of their innings.

Farocki’s shot was more than enough to cause a few sideways glances in the England dressing room, as a full-length villain from the agile left-arm line pinned Jonny Bairstow at the crease and extracted a completely justified on-field ruling from Rod Tucker. , never mind Bairstow’s stink eye as he was chased from the crease after DRS ruled a plea was shown.

But there was no need for such second-guessing for England’s second powerplay victim: Joe Root, hooked by Mujeeb’s forward slider, bowled for 11 off 17 – another apparent powerplay failure for England’s faltering leader – as the ball remained Low to swing in and out of the middle.

Not for the first time, Dawid Malan was the most consistent bowler on display, as his 32 off 39 balls single-handedly dragged England through power play without further loss. But Mohammad Nabi, playing the 150th ODI out of a possible 156 for his country, was waiting as restrictions on playing were lifted. Naby’s fourth ball was a poetic moment – a quick, diving shot that had Malan thinking his fifth boundary was on the cards, but Ibrahim Zadran let loose the trap at short cover.

At 68 for 3 in the 13th over, alarm bells rang.

Butler’s command in recent weeks has been to “attack”… but even he was unable to practice what he preached in such difficult circumstances. His only shot in anger was a pointed shot that sliced ​​through the covers as Afghanistan’s main threat, Rashid Khan, entered the attack in the 17th over. But Navin-ul-Haq’s aggressive seamers seemed to have spooked him from the start, and after being hit twice in his first four balls, he drove unconvincingly through a booming inswinger, littering his stumps for 9 off his 18th over.

England’s fear after that was astonishing. Liam Livingstone never looked settled on 10 from 14, eventually getting his front foot on the line in front of Rashid and burning a futile review in the process. Sam Curran seemed solely focused on stopping the finish while Harry Brook was busy with a fighting half-century, including a handful of brilliant groundstrokes, and in the 31st over, England’s only first six, which told a tale – especially when set against The previous World Cup meeting between these teams. By contrast, Afghanistan fired eight missiles.

With Curran on 10 off 23 balls, Nabi – armed quite correctly with slip – came back with another catcher to collect another left-hander, with Curran poking a weaker at a steep, sloping break at low level to Rahmat Shah. Once the result was a foregone conclusion, England finally broke out of their defeatist mentality, as Reece Topley’s three successive strikes off Farocki proved to be among the cleanest on a flat display.

It was an overwhelming victory by all accounts, but the gap between the Afghan offensive mentality and the disorganized English style was much wider than the final result had imagined.

It was Gurbaz’s little masterpiece that set the tone for his team. Presented with a surface on which the South Africans scored three centuries in last week’s World Cup record 428 for 5, he stepped into the attack, especially against another timid new-ball spell from Chris Woakes, whose search for form epitomized England’s uncertainty. Start defending their title.

Woakes’ first ball of the match was a wild drive that flew wide through Buttler’s legs for a five-pointer wide, and Afghanistan needed no further encouragement to put the hammer down on such a clearly weak link in England’s attack. The second over, a deliberate hack from Gurbaz across the line convinced Woakes to pull his length back, and Gurbaz was waiting with a sucker punch, a ferocious sweep over deep square leg for a six.

Four more strikes followed in Woakes’ next over, and he was struck through the covers when he failed to land his cutters, and although Topley at the other end was more economical in his seams of his high-hitting left arm, Gurbaz had absolute faith in the real one. nature of the stadium, and twice clambered across its arches with a brace of monstrous wounds.

Curran replaced Woakes but was little better. Gurbaz destroyed his second, which disappeared for 20 with two more and another six over midwicket to end Afghanistan’s power play on an ill-fated 79 for 0. He duly brought up his fifty off 33 balls, the fourth-fastest in the tournament so far. With a calculated sweep for four off Adil Rashid’s second ball.

England’s concerns had to go deeper before they could improve. Mark Wood was quick from the start of his spell, but the misdirected keeper was bundled up and over the deep third with a flick of the wrists, before Gurbaz scored his fourth sixth goal – and arguably his best ever: an easy, effortless catch. Deep midwicket as Rashid breaks his leg in the arc. And when the injury-plagued Topley injured his knee while failing to cut another pull through his fine leg, and limped off for treatment, the concerns in the England camp, and with his father Don sitting in the stands, were plain to see.

Topley returned in time, but at this stage Afghanistan’s innings appeared to have exploded in a familiar wave of self-destruction. Having played the first over against Rashid, Ibrahim Zadran headed Root through the middle, and before he could settle, Rakhmat was pulled out of the crease in Rashid’s next over, only to be cleverly blocked by Buttler for 3 from eight. Balls.

And then…disaster.

Hashmatullah Shahidi pushed his first ball to mid-off and went for an ill-advised single, with Gurbaz barely in the frame when the timid came in from mid-off. He stormed off the field, completely angry with himself and his captain, smashing his bat with the boundary marker and the passing chair as he did so, knowing full well that those blows could have and should have been directed at England’s toiling bowlers instead.

But even as Afghanistan struggled to regroup, the seeds of England’s downfall were clearly visible. Liam Livingstone settled into an excellent mid-on role, completing a full ten-over spell for the first time in his ODI career, while Root also had a handful of his hits as he bowled Shahidi for 14 off his 36.

But at 174 for 5, there would be no surrender despite Afghanistan’s embarrassing result. Alikhel steadied the tail while Rashid and Mujib took what blocks they could from the English bowling, and by the time Curran’s final fours and six free-hit runs, he and Woakes had leaked combined figures of 8-0 -87-0. In the final analysis, it was those margins that were unmanageable, as Afghanistan made good on their pre-match promise to bring some “joy” to their country in the wake of last week’s earthquake. They couldn’t have done more.

Andrew Miller is the UK editor for ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket


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