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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

World Cup 2023: Afghanistan beat England by 69 runs at Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi

Off-spinner Mujeeb, adjudged Man of the Match for his allround show, dedicates his award to the earthquake victims of Herat district

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 16.10.23, 07:26 AM
Rashid Khan (centre) and teammates celebrate after Afghanistan’s win over England on Sunday. 

Rashid Khan (centre) and teammates celebrate after Afghanistan’s win over England on Sunday.  Twitter

England’s shock defeats to minnows have almost become a regular feature in every edition of the ODI World Cup.

Ireland and Bangladesh trumped them in the 2011 edition and then Bangladesh again in 2015. This time around, it was the turn of Afghanistan to prevail over the Englishmen, thrashing them by 69 runs at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi on Sunday, which so far is this World Cup’s biggest upset.

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In reply to Afghanistan’s 284 after they were put into bat, England were bundled out for 215 with 57 balls to spare with Mujeeb ur Rahman (3/51), Rashid Khan (3/37) and Mohammad Nabi (2/16) taking the bulk of the wickets.

It was only last Wednesday when the Afghanistan bowling attack was taken to the cleaners by India captain Rohit Sharma, which helped his side reach a tricky 273-run target with as many as 15 overs to spare.

Just like it was that evening, the Afghan bowlers had to battle the dew on Sunday as well and that too, against an explosive English batting line-up.

But not just Rashid, even Mujeeb and Nabi rose to the occasion and consistently bowled the right lines and lengths to make matters tougher for England, who have a perennial problem against spin irrespective of the conditions. Obviously, none from the England line-up could bat like Rohit did the other evening, but credit has to be given to the Afghan bowlers, including the quicks, as they kept targetting the stumps to maintain the pressure on the England batters.

Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz laid the foundation for Afghanistan with his blistering 57-ball 80, hammering the ordinary-looking England bowling attack for eight boundaries and four maximums.

But leg-spinner Adil Rashid (3/42) and Mark Wood (2/50) reduced Afghanistan to 190/6 in the 37th over before keeper-batter Ibrahim Alikhil (58) came up with the repair work, with assistance from Rashid (23) and Mujeeb (28).

Rahmanullah Gurbaz on way to his 57-ball 80 on Sunday.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz on way to his 57-ball 80 on Sunday. PTI photo

That helped Afghanistan go past 280. Thereafter, in pursuit of 285, pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi gave the Afghans a vital breakthrough by trapping the dangerous Jonny Bairstow lbw early in the second over. The Afghan spinners then took over as, barring Harry Brook (66), none of the other English batsmen could put up any kind of resistance.

In between, pacer Naveen-ul Haq picked up the vital scalp of captain Jos Buttler as pressure mounted on England. Buttler was completely foxed by an inswinger.

England’s lower order did attempt a fightback, but were left with too much to do.

For quake victims

Off-spinner Mujeeb, adjudged Man of the Match for his all-round show, dedicated his award to the earthquake victims of the Herat district of Afghanistan.

“I want to dedicate this award to the people back home, who have been affected by the earthquake. This is something we could do as a team and I could do as a player,” Mujeeb said at the post-match presentation.

Afghanistan would certainly be hoping for more such wins going forward in the tournament.

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