England finish campaign with win over Afghanistan
Sydney: England defeated debutants Afghanistan by nine wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method in an inconsequential and rain-marred cricket World Cup Pool A match at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on Friday.
Rain halted the Afghanistan innings at 111/7 in 36.2 overs and after the target was revised, England, who are already out the race for the quarterfinals, needed 101 runs from 25 overs.
They achieved the target with nine wickets and 6.1 overs to spare. Alex Hales (37), Ian Bell (52 not out) and James Taylor (8 not out) did the work for England. Experienced right-handed batsman Bell registered his 34th One-Day International (ODI) half-century.
With second win in all six matches, England ensured themselves of a fifth-place finish in the Pool A, while Afghanistan slumped to their fifth loss in six matches. They defeated Scotland an earlier match.
“We have leant a lot from this tournament — how full members play and how they build pressure. The Scotland win was a good memory for the whole team,” Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi said.
For England captain Eoin Morgan it was also a learning phase even though his team crashed out before the semifinals for the six consecutive time.
“A lot to learn from this tournament. We have got a good squad of players who are here. It is important to realise we haven’t clicked this tournament. It has been challenging, I have learnt a lot about myself and about the players,” says Morgan.
“I have learnt a lot from the coach Peter Moores. I have known him better. I have enjoyed the experience. Yes it (captaincy) is something I will like to do. We will sit down over a couple of weeks and see where things have gone wrong and how we can fix them.”
Earlier, Afghanistan struggled from the start against the English bowlers. Openers Nawroz Mangal (4) and Javed Ahmadi (7) perished against right-arm seamers James Anderson and chris Broad, respectively.
Another pacer Chris Jordan felled Afsar Zafai (6) as the Afghans were reduced to 25/3 in the 12th over. Man-of-the-match Jordan then dismissed in-form and reliable Shamiullah Shenwari (7) to make sure that the Asian side didn’t recover from the slump at 34/4.
Ravi Bopara compounded the Afghans’ problems further as the right-arm medium pacer got rid of Nasir Jamal (17) to make it 65/5 in the 26th over.
Shafiqullah (30) and skipper Mohammad Nabi then tried their best to stem the rot with a 26-run stand for the sixth wicket. But Bopara removed the captain making it 91/6 in the 32nd over.
Finally, Shafiqullah also lost his wicket at a lowly Afghanistan total of 101/7. Nazibullah Zadran (12 not out) and Hamid Hassan (not out 0) were at the crease when rain interrupted play.
Brief scores: Afghanistan 111/7 in 36.2 (Shafiqullah 30; Chris Jordan 2-13, Ravi Bopara 2-31) lose to England 101/1 in 18.1 overs (Ian Bell 52 not out, Alex Hales 37; Hamid Hassan 1-17) via D/L method.