WC: Afghanistan stun defending champions England by 69 runs

WC: Afghanistan stun defending champions England by 69 runs

While opener Gurbaz gave the Afghanistan a flying start, scoring 80, Alikhil made a solid 58 as the team recovered from a mid-innings collapse to post a good total on board.

Afghanistan produced one of the biggest upsets in ODI World Cup history as they stunned England by 69 runs in an ICC World Cup 2023 match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Sunday (October 15).

The spin trio of Mujeeb Ur Rahman (3/51), who opened the bowling, Mohammad Nabi (2/16) and Rashid Khan (3/37), starred with the ball as defending champions England failed in their 285-run chase.

Barring Harry Brook (66), none of the other English batters got going. As long as Brook was in the middle, England fancied their chances but once he departed in the 35th over, as the eighth wicket to fall, the game was sealed.

England were bowled out for 215 in 40.3 overs with the Afghan spin trio sharing eight wickets between them. Rashid took the final wicket of Mark Wood, bowled.

This was Afghanistan's only second win in ODI World Cup history. This also ended their 14-match losing streak at the ICC global tournament. Afghanistan's only other World Cup success, by one wicket, was against Scotland in Dunedin in 2015.

Earlier, Rahmanullah Gurbaz gave the early impetus while Ikram Alikhil provided the final flourish to guide Afghanistan to a competitive 284 all out.

While opener Gurbaz gave the Afghans a flying start, scoring 80 off 57 balls, number 6 batter Alikhil made a solid 58 off 66 deliveries as Afghanistan recovered from a mid-innings collapse to post a good total on board.

Off-colour in the first two matches, Afghanistan openers – Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran (28) finally rose to the occasion, scoring the team's 50 in just 6.3 overs after being sent in to bat.

The Afghan openers meant business and played copy book cricketing shots to score their runs. The duo didn't take much risk and Gurbaz mainly ruled the roost, taking the attack to the English bowlers.

He played all around the park but his shots through the covers and flicks were a treat to watch. With Afghanistan scoring runs thick and fast, England skipper Jos Buttler introduced Adil Rashid (3/42) in the 11th over but Gurbaz was in a relentless mood as he swept the leg-spinner for a boundary to bring up his fifty in just 33 balls.

Gurbaz looked in ominous form as he dispatched Rashid over deep midwicket to bring up Afghanistan's 100 in just 76 deliveries.

England finally tasted their first success in the 17th over when an under-pressure Zadran (28 off 48) gave a simple catch to Joe Root at short mid-wicket but not before stitching 114 for the opening wicket.

England got back into the game an over later with back-to-back wickets.

First Rashid dismissed Rahmat Shah, stumped by Buttler and then in the very next ball Afghanistan suffered a big blow in the form of Gurbaz, who became a victim of an unnecessary run out. Gurbaz decorated his innings with eight boundaries and four sixes.

Following Gurbaz's dismissal, runs started to dry up for Afghanistan as skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai looked to revive the innings.

Omarzai tried to break the shackles in the 25th over, cloberring Chris Woakes for a six and four.

But the knock was shortlived as Omarzai departed in the next over, slicing a Liam Livingstone delivery to Woakes at long off as Afghanistan lost four wickets for just 38 runs.

Shahidi too didn't last long, bowled by an unlikely Root with the Afghan skipper caught in two minds.

Veteran Mohammad Nabi too didn't help his side, departing soon as the Afghans slumped to 190 for 6 from a commanding position.

Alikhil played a fine knock and decorated his innings with three fours and two sixes. Rashid Khan played a quick 22-ball 23, while Mujeeb Ur Rahman made 28 off 16 balls before Afghanistan were bowled out in 49.5 overs.

(With agency inputs)

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