England survives scare to overcome Afghanistan

Against an eager Afghanistan, it was the turn of three bowlers – Man-of-the-Match Moeen Ali, David Willey and Chris Jordan – to showcase their batting skills and rescue England from an embarrassing 57 for six before striking timely in the team’s 15-run victory.

Moeen Ali's unbeaten 41 was valuable for England.   -  Reuters

James Vince of England bats during the ICC World Twenty20 match against Afghanistan in New Delhi.   -  Getty Images

Till this day in the World T20, England’s batsmen carried the team’s hopes. On Wednesday, the script read different. Against an eager Afghanistan, it was the turn of three bowlers – Man-of-the-Match Moeen Ali, David Willey and Chris Jordan – to showcase their batting skills and rescue England from an embarrassing 57 for six before striking timely in the team’s 15-run victory.

>Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

On a flat Ferozeshah Kotla pitch that held no devils, Afghanistan did make an impact in the first 15 overs after England batted by choice.However, the inexperience of Afghanistan came to the fore as it let England add 95 runs in 10.4 overs for a tally of 142 for seven in 20 overs.

>Morgan: Never in doubt of win





Here, Jordan (15) and Ali (41 not out) began the repair work by adding 28 runs for the seventh wicket. Once Willey (20 not out) joined Ali,the duo raised an unbroken stand of 57 runs in just 5.3 overs, with the last two overs producing 35 runs.

With left-arm spinner Amir Hamza bowling the 19th over, England collected 25 runs including two sixes from Willey after Ali had hit a six and four. This late onslaught firmly shifted the momentum in England’s favour at the innings-break.

In fact, given the thin victory margin, the calculated assault by Ali and Willey assumes greater significance.

When Afghanistan began its chase, Willey proved that he was not done for the day. He struck twice to leave Afghanistan tottering at 13 for three. His victims included the dangerous and in-from opener Mohammad Shahzad. Jordan and Ali, too, struck early in their spells to ensure that Afghanistan’s run-chase was never really on.

Though Samiullah Shinwari and Shafiqullah Shafaq showed they could bat, England never looked worried at any point. After all, single-digit stand for the first three wickets meant England controlled the proceedings well. Shafaq’s unbeaten 35, with two sixes and four boundaries only helped in bringing down England’s victory margin without getting Afghanistan closer to victory.