July 16, 2024

Victory over England gives Afghanistan a much-needed boost in cricket

Afghanistan defeated England by 69 runs to gain a much-needed boost in their world cricket journey.

Afghanistan made a history by defeating England in the ICC World Cup match.

Afghanistan made a history by defeating England in the ICC World Cup match. (Image: ICC)

In a stunning upset at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, Afghanistan delivered the first major surprise of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 by defeating the reigning champions, England, with a commanding 69-run lead. Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Afghanistan’s underdog status was quickly put to rest.

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Despite England’s strategic move, their hopes crumbled as they struggled to reach 215 runs, largely due to Afghanistan’s formidable trio of spinners. The underdogs set a challenging target of 285 runs, fueled by an explosive 80-run onslaught off 57 balls from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz, complemented by a solid half-century performance from wicketkeeper Ikram Alikhil.

Gurbaz reached his fifty in record time, but setbacks followed as leg-spinner Adil Rashid (3-42) removed Zadran and successfully stumped Rahmat Shah in his subsequent over. Gurbaz, on the verge of a World Cup century with an impressive tally of eight fours and four sixes, was ultimately run out by substitute David Willey at midwicket, a move initiated by skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi’s risky call.

Gurbaz, seething with frustration, left the field, venting his ire by striking his bat against the boundary rope on his way back to the pavilion. In a lower-order surge, spinners Rashid Khan (23) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (28) made vital contributions, enabling Afghanistan to post a competitive total and empowering their bowlers in their onslaught against the English batting lineup.

Despite their formidable batting roster, England’s hopes took an early hit as left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi dismissed opener Jonny Bairstow in just the second over. From there, Afghanistan’s spinners seized control, with off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman dismissing Joe Root for a mere 11 runs and Mohammad Nabi claiming the dismissal of Dawid Malan at 32.

England’s captain, Jos Buttler, fell for a mere nine runs to pace bowler Naveen-ul-Haq. As it stands, England currently occupies fifth place in the group standings with one victory in three matches, just ahead of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, in contrast, experienced substantial losses in their previous encounters, falling to Bangladesh by six wickets and succumbing to hosts India by eight wickets. Heading into this match, Afghanistan’s World Cup history was marked by 16 losses out of their last 17 games, their lone triumph occurring against Scotland in 2015.

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