Sam Curran led the way with excellent figures of 5/10 as England, aided by some incredible catches, bowled out Afghanistan for 112 in a Super 12 Group 1 match.
A winning start for England in the Super 12 💪🏻#T20World Cup | #ENGvAFG https://t.co/sqy9tllXQv
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While left-arm fast-medium all-rounder Curran did most of the damage, England were also helped by as many as three stunning catches after Jos Buttler elected to bowl.
As It Happened
Ibrahim Zadran (32) and Usman Ghani (30) were the two main contributors for Afghanistan.
When England batted, Liam Livingstone (29 off 21 balls) was there till the end to see the team through after they lost five wickets. England won with 11 balls to spare.
The first English bowler to take a five-wicket haul in men’s T20Is 🌟Sam Curran 👏🏻#T20World Cup | #ENGvAFG https://t.co/M9r7Mp4hLS
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Buttler didn’t last long, falling for an 18-ball 18 against Fazalhaq Farooqi, but the Afghans didn’t have enough on the board to pose any sort of threat to a deep-batting England side.
Alex Hales also got out after making 19 in 20 deliveries but it did not come in the way of a convincing England win.
Ben Stokes (2) was also out cheaply, leaving England at 65 for three in the 11th over. It became 97 for five in the 16th over, when Rashid Khan had Harry Brook (7) caught by Ibrahim Zadran.
On a lively Optus pitch that encouraged a good matchup between the bat and the ball, Afghanistan scored 35 runs in the encounter after losing Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the second over.
Gurbaz was declared fit for the match after being hit by Shaheen Afridi during the warm-up. lashed it to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Wood welcomed Ibrahim Zadran with a 154km/h thunderbolt that went past the outside edge after keeping his line just short of a length. However, the next ball was a full toss and it was duly hit through the covers, easing Zadran’s nerves.
After barely getting the strike, Hazratullah Zazai came into play by playing Woakes over cover for a boundary.
Wood, at the other end, continued to bowl fast, but Zadran was equal to the task and slapped a wicked short ball from the England pacer over fine leg for a maximum.
As Afghanistan entered the middle overs looking to improve the run rate, Liam Livingstone pulled off a blinder run in from the deep to signal the departure of Zazai after the batsman looked to chip one over third man. Ben Stokes, who opened the proceedings for England, was the bowler on this occasion.
With Afghanistan at 37 for two in seven overs, Sam Curran was brought into the attack, and Usman Ghani clipped him for four.
However, England managed to keep things tight in the middle before Curran returned to bowl Zadran, thanks to a fine catch by Moeen Ali at backward point.
Meanwhile, Stokes was seen grimacing after completing his third over, but it didn’t look serious.
Najibullah Zadran hit Adil Rashid for a straight six down the ground in a 13-run 13th over before Wood came back to check the flow of runs.
Stokes sent back Najibullah, this time it was the turn of Adil Rashid to take a brilliant catch.
Buttler added his name to the list of phenomenal catches when he grabbed the ball after a well-aimed short ball by Wood had Mohammed Nabi in all sorts of trouble.