In a major upset, Afghanistan claimed a resounding 69-run victory over the defending champions, England, in the ICC World Cup.
In their pursuit of Afghanistan’s formidable target of 285, England faltered and were bowled out for 215 in 40.3 overs. It was a breathtaking victory for Afghanistan and marked the first major upset of this edition of the tournament.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the Afghan spin sensation, was the star of the show, both with the bat and ball. Not only did he contribute a brisk 28 runs to the team’s total, but he also proved to be a thorn in England’s side as he claimed three crucial wickets (3/51). His all-round performance set the tone for Afghanistan’s triumph.
For England, the battle was an uphill one, with their batsmen struggling against the Afghan bowling attack. Harry Brook emerged as the highest run-scorer for England, notching up 66 runs.
However, it was the tale of quick dismissals for the rest of the English lineup. Jonny Bairstow (2), Dawid Malan (32), Joe Root (11), Jos Buttler (9), Liam Livingstone (10), Sam Curran (10), and Chris Woakes (9) all fell inexpensively, unable to provide the necessary resistance.
The win catapulted Afghanistan into the spotlight, showcasing their burgeoning cricketing prowess. Both Afghanistan and England now stand at one win each from three games in this World Cup, making the tournament even more intriguing and competitive.
The Afghan innings got off to a blazing start, thanks to the explosive opening duo of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran. They amassed a robust partnership, with Gurbaz reaching his fifty in just 33 balls. The openers combined for an impressive 114-run partnership, setting the stage for Afghanistan’s innings.
However, the English side managed to stage a recovery. In the 17th over, Ibrahim Zadran was caught by Joe Root off the bowling of Adil Rashid, departing after contributing 28 runs from 48 balls. Soon after, the formidable Gurbaz was run out, but not before an electrifying performance that saw him scoring 80 runs off just 57 balls, which included eight fours and four powerful sixes.
As Afghanistan looked to build on their impressive start, Rashid became the tormentor-in-chief for England’s batsmen, taking three vital wickets for just 42 runs. Livingstone also chipped in with a crucial wicket (1/33) off his 10 overs.
Despite the middle-order stutters, Ikram Alikhil played a vital role in bolstering Afghanistan’s total. He remained unbeaten and played a resilient innings, amassing 58 runs off 66 balls. The Afghan innings eventually concluded at 284, falling just short of their 50 overs.
In this thrilling contest, it was Afghanistan emerged as the winning side, showcasing their immense potential in the world of cricket. Their stunning victory against the defending champions has set the tone for the ICC World Cup, with surprises and fierce battles sure to come.