New Delhi: After a lot of one-sided matches, the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup was craving for an upset win and Afghanistan delivered the same with a 69-run victory over defending champions England at the Arun Jaitley Stadium here on Sunday.
With healthy amount of support for them in the crowd of 26, 440, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ikram Alikhil slammed half-centuries in carrying Afghanistan to 284 in 49.5 overs. In defence, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman took three wickets each in an impressive bowling performance to bowl out England for 215 in 40.5 overs.
With this, Afghanistan end their 14-match losing streak in World Cups with the biggest win of their ODI history till date, to send shockwaves in the tournament as well as in the cricketing world. Afghanistan are now at sixth place in points table, just behind England, while Australia are now at bottom of the ten-team tally.
Chasing 285, England were dealt an early blow when Jonny Bairstow was trapped lbw on first ball of Fazalhaq Farooqui, which he reviewed immediately. The replay showed the ball clipping leg-stump on umpire’s call, meaning England retained review, but lost Bairstow.
Though Dawid Malan and Joe Root picked some boundaries, Farooqui continued to bowl probing line and length – like he squared up Malan, hit him on pads (and burnt a review), then beating him. Afghanistan increased pressure on England when Mujeeb Ur Rahman castled Root with a googly that stayed low.
Malan and Harry Brook tried stabilising the chase with strike-rotation and a few boundaries, but Mohammad Nabi took out the former by deceiving him with an outside off-stump delivery which he chipped straight to short extra cover.
Naveen-ul-Haq produced a peach of a delivery – fuller ball coming in from wide outside the off-stump – to castle Jos Buttler through the gate. Rashid Khan entered wicket-takers’ list by trapping Liam Livingstone plumb lbw with a straighter delivery. Livingstone tried to overturn, but it went in vain.
With Brook at the crease and striking boundaries whenever deliveries either wide or overpitched were given to reach his fifty in 35 balls, England held their hopes high. But with boundaries drying up, Nabi struck by using dip, turn and bounce to draw Sam Curran forward and get him edge to slip.
Chris Woakes survived an lbw appeal against Mujeeb, but the spinner finally got his man when he got the googly to go past inside edge and crashed into the off-stump. Mujeeb struck the killer blow by having Brook nick behind a quicker carrom ball to Ikram Alikhil. Rashid had Adil Rashid caught at slip, and despite Reece Topley delaying the inevitable, the leg-spinner castled Mark Wood to send crowd into jubilant frenzy.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 284 in 49.5 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 80, Ikram Alikhil 58; Adil Rashid 3-42, Mark Wood 2-50) beat England 215 in 40.3 overs (Harry Brook 66, Dawid Malan 32; Rashid Khan 3-37, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3-51) by 69 runs