Delhi October 15 2023: Afghanistan registered a stunning 69-run win over England in the first major upset of the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.
Match 13: England v Afghanistan
Toss result: England opt to bowl first
Afghanistan's historic win
Afghanistan bundled England out for 215 to script just their second Cricket World Cup win, eight years since their last against Scotland in Australia. This time, it was the defending champions at the receiving end.
Put in to bat on a wicket that had yielded big runs recently, Afghanistan mustered a decent total, but then outdid the England bowlers with their spin trio reigning over the famed English batting line-up.
Afghanistan bowlers stun England
After putting on a decent total on board, Afghanistan needed early breakthroughs to really push England onto the backfoot and Fazaqlhaq Farooqi did just that by shaping one back into Jonny Bairstow to trap him in front for two.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman added to England's panic when a quicker one slid through quicker to nip out Joe Root's stumps. At 33/2, England were in early trouble and Afghanistan had their eyes set on something special.
With Dawid Malan gifting a simple catch to cover off Mohammad Nabi and Jos Buttler cleaned up by Naveen-ul-Haq after a jittery time in the middle, Afghanistan were well and truly on top before the 20th over.
They pressed England further immediately after with Rashid Khan snaring the big scalp of Liam Livingstone in the 21st over, leaving the defending champions reeling at 117/5.
Harry Brook held the England innings together, compiling his second ODI fifty and warding off the Rashid threat admirably, but he kept running out of partners. When Nabi sent back Sam Curran, caught at slip, with the score still under 150, Afghanistan had truly stamped their authority on the game.
Chris Woakes and Brook promised a revival with a secure stand, but Mujeeb broke through with a tight over at the end of which Woakes' stumps were pegged back.
Mujeeb came back to dismiss Brook and the rest of the line-up failed to counter the Afghanistan spinners as Afghanistan pulled off a memorable upset win.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz puts England attack to sword
Put in to bat, England were treated to a rampant Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who put the defending champions in defensive mode with an onslaught that saw Afghanistan race to 45 inside the first six overs.
With boundaries flooding from one end and Ibrahim Zadran blocking his end out pretty well on a flat wicket, the breakthrough just didn't come for England.
Flaying criticism around their slow powerplay starts, Afghanistan dug into England's bowling attack with Sam Curran being at the receiving end of Gurbaz's fury. The opener smashed him for two fours and a six in the ninth over that saw 20 runs coming.
Gurbaz soon completed a 33-ball fifty and celebrated it next over by upper-cutting Mark Wood over the third man fence with a sublime shot.
Adil Rashid sparks a mini-collapse
Adil Rashid eventually broke through for England, sending back Zadran in the 17th over. The batter's heave the leg-side was safely pouched by Joe Root at mid-wicket.
One brought another as Rahmat Shah was out stumped off Rashid in his next over. What was turning out to be a slight blip on their course soon turned into a mini-collapse as Gurbaz was run out the very next ball with skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi erring in his judgement of a single.
Afghanistan fight back through Ikram Ali Khil
With Gurbaz gone for 80 and Afghanistan losing three wickets in three overs, England sensed an opening to come back into the game.
Part-time spinners Liam Livingstone and Joe Root struck in between some lusty hits from Azmatullah Omarzai and Ikram Ali Khil as Afghanistan lost half their side in the 33rd over with the score still under 200.
If England hoped to run through the lower middle-order, that didn't quite materialise with Ali Khil holding his end up quite well. Mark Wood bounced out Mohammad Nabi, but Rashid Khan curbed his instincts to ensure Ali Khil had decent company heading into the death overs.
It took a gem of a catch from Root near the ropes for England to break the 43-run stand between Ali Khil and Rashid with the latter falling to his namesake from the England side.
Mujeeb ur Rahman, though, got going for Afghanistan, slamming a sequence of four, four and six off Sam Curran to push Afghanistan late in the innings. Ali Khil joined him with some cracking shots too after his half-century.
England broke the stand before the final two overs with the wicket of Ali Khil and also prized out Mujeeb the first ball next over, but a competitive total had already been compiled. The 284 put on is Afghanistan's second-highest score in the Cricket World Cup.
England: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler(w/c), Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi(c), Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Ali Khil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi