Colombo: England started their title defence on a thumping note as they beat minnows Afghanistan by 116 runs in a league matchup of the T20 World Cup.
Afghanistan who had India in a spot of bother in the last match were expected to spring some surprises in this match as well but then England dominated the match right from the word go. The loss has brought an end to their campaign while England will next face the heavyweights India in their last league encounter.
Electing to bowl first, Afghanistan made a good start and it was their pacer Shapoor Zadran who in the last match dismissed both Indian openers, struck in the first over to remove dangerous Craig Keiswetter.
England 196 for 5 (Wright 99*) beat Afghanistan 80 (Naib 44, Patel 2-6, Broad 2-10) by 116 runs
Toss: Afghanistan, chose to bowl first
Powerplay: 52 runs, 1 wicket (0-6 overs)
4's: 18, 6's: 8
Powerplay: 22 runs, 5 wickets (0-6 overs)
4's: 6, 6's: 4
The Asian minnows did decent job with the ball but then it was one bad over from Shapoor Zadran which saw the momentum of the game shift in England’s favour.
His third over yielded 23 runs and after that there was no stopping the English batsmen. They started hitting the Afghan bowlers at will and the opener Alexander Hales and Luke Wright put up a 69 runs partnership for the second wicket.
Hales scored 31 off 27 deliveries including five fours. The wicket however had no bearing on England’s innings as there was nothing that could stop Luke Wright as he surged forward. With support from the middle-order, Wright continued his onslaught and helped England post a target of 197.
Wright unfortunately could not reach his century as he could get only two runs in the final delivery of the match. He scored 99 off 55 deliveries laced with eight boundaries and a six.
Coming on to bat, Afghanistan never looked comfortable against the pace bowling trio of of Steven Finn, skipper Stuart Broad and Jade Dernbach. The seamers extracted a lot of pace and bounce from the pitch and kept the Afghan batsmen on their toes.
At one stage they were reduced 26-8 and looked like even getting 50 would be a difficult for them. But Gulbodin Naib’s played a good innings of 44 off 32 deliveries to get them out of an embarrassing situation. Afghanistan were eventually bowled out for 80.
England 196/5 (Wright 99*)
Afghanistan 80 (Naib 44, Patel 2-6, Broad 2-10)
By Indian Sports News Network