Rahmanullah Gurbaaz’s 80 and Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s 3-51, were the catalyst to Afghanistan’s stunning victory against England by 69 runs.
It was Jos Buttler who won the toss and elected to field.
Gurbaaz led the charge for the Afghans with a blistering 80 from 57 balls.
He looked on course for a maiden World Cup hundred, but a mix-up between himself and Hashmatullah Shahidi sent him back to the pavilion at 122-3.Embed from Getty Images
This was the start of a mini-collapse for Hasmatullah Shahidi’s side, as they lost the next three wickets for 68 runs.
But cameos of 23 and 28 for Rashid Khan and Mujeeb, meant that Afghanistan was able to get to a score of 284.Embed from Getty Images
It seemed at that stage that the Afghans were 40 or 50 runs short of what they probably should have got(320/330), but they were hoping that their performance with the bat, would inspire them to produce some magic with the ball.
And they got off to the perfect start when Fazalhaq Farooqi trapped Johnny Bairstow LBW for 2 at 3-1.Embed from Getty Images
Joe Root and Dawid Malan looked to be getting England back on track.Embed from Getty Images
Before the former Test Captain was out bowled to a ball that kept low at 33-2.
Malan was looking in fine form.Embed from Getty Images
Until his attempted cover drive of Nabi, spooned a catch to extra cover at 68-3.Embed from Getty Images
Harry Brook was the stand-out batter of the innings, with 66 from 61.a id=’BjA1Wb1vTlRc7JtVPXgL4g’ class=’gie-single’ href=’http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1737219487′ target=’_blank’ style=’color:#a7a7a7;text-decoration:none;font-weight:normal !important;border:none;display:inline-block;’>Embed from Getty Images
But England’s Captain could not provide him with any support, as he was comprehensively bowled by Naveen Ul Haq for nine, at 94-4.
Even though the champions were four down, there were still Batsmen who were capable of getting England over the line.
But things became more difficult when Rashid Khan pinned Liam Livingston LBW for 10 at 117-5.Embed from Getty Images
Brook carried on his fine form at the other end.Embed from Getty Images
He soon reached his second ODI fifty in 45 balls.Embed from Getty Images
But Nabi rubbed more salt into England’s wounds when he dismissed Sam Curran for 10, at 138-6.
Brook continued his terrific form with the bat.Embed from Getty Images
And Chris Woakes played some exquisite shots.Embed from Getty Images
But Mujeebb stopped him in his tracks and bowled him through the gate at 160-7.Embed from Getty Images
He also got the key wicket of Brook at 169-8.Embed from Getty Images
Mark Wood hit a couple of lusty blows.Embed from Getty Images
But the end was nigh for England, and it became 198-9 when Adil Rashid departed.Embed from Getty Images
And Khan landed the final blow, as he castled Wood, to bowl England out for 215.Embed from Getty Images
This is only Afghanistan’s second 50-over World Cup win after they beat Scotland in Dunedin, New Zealand in 2015. Captain Hashmatullah Shanidi was extremely proud of his team’s exceptional performance.
“I’m quite happy, all the teammates are happy. This is the best win for us, the confidence will be there for the next game and I’m very proud. The openers get a lot of credit. They gave us a great start but unfortunately, we lost back-to-back wickets in the middle again, lot of credit to the openers though, especially Gurbaz. Ikram was with us for the last 2 years and didn’t get a lot of chances, today I believed in him and gave him a chance and he repaid my faith,”Shahidi: India Today
Meanwhile, Buttler raised the issue about his side’s lack of character after the humiliating defeat at Delhi.
“It’s a big setback,” “Before the tournament started we had a different idea of how the first three games would pan out. We’ve got to show a lot of character, a lot of resilience within the team and most of all a lot of belief. There are a lot of excellent players in there and we haven’t played well enough today, but we must keep that belief.”Buttlet: The Guaedian
Up next for England is South Africa in Mumbai on Saturday, Buttler and his men will need to regroup and get back to winning ways, or they could find themselves going out of the tournament.
As for Afghanistan, this is a moment that they should not only cherish but look to build on and say ‘If we can upset England, we can beat anyone on our day.
What more surprises does this World Cup have in store for us?
Find out on World In Sport.