England kick started their world T20 campaign with a sublime win over Afghanistan in their first match of the Super 12 stage. The Jos Buttler lead side registered a convincing 5 wicket win in an intense match thanks to some fantastic bowling performance assisted by fairly good batting effort in the second innings. Afghanistan too showed good enough grit to strengthen their grip on the match in several circumstances, but failed to make things happen for themselves at the crucial moments.
England won the toss and elected to field first. Afghanistan didn’t have the perfect start to their innings as they lost their opening duo of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai cheaply. The batters who were coming into bat after the fall of untimely wickets failed to have any sort of impact on the game.
Neither were they able to accelerate the rate of runs nor were they able to rotate the strike properly. Ibrahim Zadran and Usman Ghani played lackluster innings at a low strike rate, which didn’t seem to help their team’s cause at all. With half their backs into the hut for 91, the lower middle order was totally exposed by the bowlers. Afghanistan lost the last 5 wickets just for the addition of another 21 runs as the entire innings came to a close at a score of 112.
England had a convincing start to their innings. The in-form duo of Buttler and Hales played fine shots to initiate the run chase. However, both the openers were dismissed before notching up any big scores, thereby letting Afghanistan keep their hopes alive in the game. Afghanistan bowlers maintained the pressure with tight spells as they didn’t let the run rate soar higher.
Amidst falling events, Livingstone had held one end firm by then and continued to rotate the strike to take England closer to a win. Moeen Ali joined Livingstone as the duo took England home comfortably with 11 balls to spare and 5 wickets remaining.
Sam Curran was awarded the man of the match for his brilliant bowling spell of 5/10. England are now second in their group’s points table with a net run rate of +0.620.The win was an extremely significant one for the Jos Buttler lead side since they will definitely be facing tough competition from sides like New Zealand and Australia in the upcoming matches.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, will be under a bit of pressure after being handed a loss in their first game and will look to bounce back in the games that are to come. England’s next match will be against Ireland, while Afghanistan will be up against New Zealand in their next Super 12 match.