Post the shocking loss against Pakistan early in the competition, the hosts led by Eoin Morgan took no time in regaining its lost track in the competition.
Though no match is considered to be a tough task, especially if you the team is backed up by huge home support and entering into a World Cup as the No 1 ODI side adds the cherry to the cake. Dominance was clearly reflecting through the English side post their 14 run loss heartbreaking loss against Pakistan at Nottingham as the host thereafter bounced back strong. Not only did they defeat Bangladesh & WI by a huge margin, but it was also able to showcase an all-around performance through both bat and ball.
The encounter scheduled at Manchester on Tuesday against minnow’s Afghan side proved the worthiness of the title favorites of the competition. Struggling with fitness issues off late against WI, which saw the captain and their opening batsmen Jason Roy leaving the field owing to back spasm and tight hamstring, had to deal with relatively bigger issues as the tournament progressed ahead.
Having elected to bat first, the English team, Afghans and the crowd therein; though being aware of the result had no clue of the storm which is likely to set new records in Manchester. James Vince and Moeen Ali were ready to don in blue in place of Jason Roy and Liam Plunkett.
Mujeeb started off the proceedings with the ball in hand as the regular opening pair of Vince-Bairstow laced their boots to take the Manchester crowd on a ride. The duo was off to a relatively slow start with Nasser Hussain predicting the scorecard to read 322 at the end of the innings. The right arm fast medium and right arm off-break by the duo from both ends prevented the English batsmen to free their arms and play their shots.
In the 10th over, Vince found a top edge on his bat and caught by Mujeeb short fine leg. Joe Root carried the innings ahead with Jonny. Playing as per the situation and fancying their chances early in the match, the duo was soon able to put the team in a relatively strong position. A perfect balance of running between the wickets and hitting the ball hard was visible out in the middle.
The game was nicely poised during drinks at the end of 18th over with England 92-1. Gulabadin provided the breakthrough as Bairstow was caught and bowled by the Afghan captain. The English captain entered into the frame thereafter and built on a strong foundation which guided the total to a brutal 397/6 including a world record 17 sixes by Eoin Morgan.
A huge task was lying ahead of the Afghans to taste their 1st success in the tournament as Naib & Co not only had a pressure of chasing a mammoth target, but also to give their best performance till date. The middle order trio of Rahmat-Hashmatullah-Asghar kept the scoreboard ticking, however much lower than the required run rate.
Adil Rashid was brought into attack after Afghanistan had notched up 100 on the scorecard. The right-arm leg-break made valuable contribution to the English side. He not only helped the pace duo of Archer-Wood to re-energize after they also made sure no further slightest hope for opposition arises during the run chase for
Here is how the cricket fraternity applauded the efforts by turning onto Twitter:-
17 sixes with a bad back. Eoin Morgan coming to the party for England as well. Afghanistan still not just able to adjust to the conditions #ENGvAFG— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) June 18, 2019