Match 13: England vs Afghanistan Showdown
England Chooses to Bowl First Following Toss
England, having been put in to bat, found themselves on the backfoot due to a blistering start by Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The Afghan opener’s aggressive batting saw Afghanistan quickly amass 45 runs within the initial six overs.
Despite a barrage of boundaries from one end and Ibrahim Zadran’s solid defense on a flat wicket, England struggled to make a breakthrough.
Responding to criticism about their slow starts during the powerplay, Afghanistan launched an assault on England’s bowling line-up. Sam Curran bore the brunt of Gurbaz’s wrath, conceding two fours and a six in the ninth over, resulting in a total of 20 runs.
Gurbaz swiftly reached a half-century off just 33 balls, celebrating his achievement with an exquisite upper-cut shot off Mark Wood, sending the ball over the third man boundary.
Adil Rashid finally provided England with the breakthrough they needed, dismissing Zadran in the 17th over. Joe Root safely caught Zadran’s leg-side heave at mid-wicket.
Rashid’s success continued as Rahmat Shah was stumped off his next over. What initially seemed like a minor setback for Afghanistan quickly escalated into a mini-collapse, with Gurbaz being run out on the very next ball due to a misjudgement by captain Hashmatullah Shahidi.
With Gurbaz’s dismissal at 80 and Afghanistan losing three wickets in quick succession, England saw an opportunity to regain control of the match.
Part-time spinners Liam Livingstone and Joe Root took wickets amidst powerful hits from Azmatullah Omarzai and Ikram Alikhil. By the 33rd over, Afghanistan had lost half their team with the score still below 200.
Following a crushing defeat against New Zealand in Ahmedabad, England bounced back with a comprehensive 137-run victory over Bangladesh. The team, led by Jos Buttler, will be looking to maintain this momentum in Delhi.
The Arun Jaitley pitch has been favourable for batting, and England’s aggressive batsmen are expected to capitalise on these conditions.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, will be keen to find their rhythm in the World Cup. Despite showing promise in stages, they have yet to perform consistently as a team.
England: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler(w/c), Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi(c), Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi