World T20, Super 10 Group 1, Afghanistan vs England at Delhi
England 142/7 (20/20 ov) beat Afghanistan 127/9 (20/20 ov) by 15 runs
A return to form coupled with a special all-round performance by England all-rounder David Willey helped the Three Lions survive a tough challenge in a must-win game against Afghanistan.
Nobody would have predicted this before the game, but after having already faced West Indies and South Africa in the group, England’s toughest test came against the only associate team among the giants. Thanks to talismanic all-round performances by Moeen Ali and David Willey, England emerged victorious and with that stay alive in the tournament. Although, things could have been so different.
Afghanistan were the front-runners for the most part of the first innings. Though, it was from the 17th over that Inzamam Ul Haq’s boys lost their way.
England’s top order was mauled by the Afghan spin attack that comprised of the ever-dependable Mohammad Nabi and 17 year old Rashid Khan. Nabi’s first over completely dismantled the Three Lions, resulting in 3 wickets from 4 balls. Teenager Rashid Khan bagged 2 wickets of his own and England were 7 down for 85, in desperate need of miraculous comeback to stay in the tournament. Moeen Ali and David Willey combined for some ferocious hitting right at the death to lift a downed England batting to a 140 plus score out of nowhere.
The drastic switch in momentum right at the death left the Afghanistan team demoralized enough to crash early on in their chase. Mohammad Shahzad fell on just the third delivery of the chase. The hard-hitting wicket-keeper’s scalp was followed by Asghar Stanikzai and Gulbadin Naib in no time.
Their wicket-tumbling never quite came to a halt and even a brave effort of a blistering 35 off 23 deliveries by Shafiquallah towards the end was not enough to dethrone the 2010 champions.