ENG vs AFG, World Cup 2023: Afghanistan catches England in spin-web, posts 69-run victory

The Afghans got their act right at the Arun Jaitley Stadium to pull off the biggest upset of the World Cup by stunning defending champion England.

Published : Oct 15, 2023 22:20 IST , New Delhi - 2 MINS READ

In the past, Afghanistan has let teams like India and Pakistan off the hook in the World Cup. The gritty fighters have often paid the price for their inexperience in dealing with the ‘big’ moments of the game.

Finally, on Sunday, the ‘hunted’ became the hunter. The Afghans got their act right at the Arun Jaitley Stadium to pull off the biggest upset of the World Cup by stunning defending champion England.

Asked to bat, Afghanistan posted 284 – its second-highest in the World Cup - and then delivered repeated blows on an unsuspecting England to script a historic 69–run victory. This also ended Afghanistan’s 14-match losing streak in the World Cup since 2015.

HIGHLIGHTS - Afghanistan beats England by 69 runs

The result left both teams with a one-win-two-loss record and pushed Australia to the bottom of the points table.

It took time for the Englishmen to realize what hit them. If they thought they could cruise to their target much like India did on Wednesday, they were in for a rude shock.

After seamer Fazalhaq Farooqi trapped Jonny Bairstow leg-before, the spin trio of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan shared eight wickets.

Joe Root played the wrong line, and in-form Dawid Malan chipped to short extra-cover. Harry Brook, who kept alive the fast-fading English hopes, watched helplessly as Jos Buttler was bowled, Liam Livingstone fell leg-before, Sam Curran offered a low catch to the lone slip fielder and Chris Woakes stood castled.

Brooks, after playing a lone hand with a 61-ball 66, became Rahman’s third victim with the wicketkeeper completing the dismissal. The last two wickets took the score from 169 to 215 by using the long handle effectively before falling to Rashid Khan.

Earlier, relying on the experience of playing India here four nights ago, Afghanistan posted what turned out to be a match-winning total.

England was left off-balance with the contrasting approach of the Afghan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran. Gurbaz dominated the 114-run stand by contributing 75 before Zadran became Adil Rashid’s first of the three victims.

The stumping of new man Rahmat Shah and the run-out of Gurbaz off successive deliveries brought England back into the game. But Ikram Alikhil’s fighting 58 and retrieving stands of 43 with Rashid and 44 with Mujeeb ensured Afghanistan improved over its tally of 272/8 scored against India but fell short of its best of 288 scored against West Indies in 2019.

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