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ICC World Cup: Afghanistan set a target of 285 for England: In reply ENG 105/4 (18) match under way

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In ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Afghanistan have set a target of 285 runs for England at Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. Sent into bat, Afghanistan were all out for 284 in 49.5 overs.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz with 80 runs and Ikram Alikhil with 58 were top scorers for Afghanistan. For England, Adil Rashid took 3 wickets and Mark Wood claimed 2.

Batting first in the ICC World Cup match being held in Delhi, Afghanistan set a target of 285 runs for England. In response to this, ENG lost 4 wickets in 18 overs and made 105 runs. Currently Brook, Livingstone are batting.

Adil Rashid (3-42), Liam Livingstone (1-33) and Joe Root (1-19) were influential in halting a daring batting performance from Afghanistan who produced their second highest World Cup score on Sunday (October 15) against England in Delhi. At one stage, the score seemed set to be in excess of 325 on another good batting surface but England’s spinners got into the act to do damage control through the innings.

Much like the previous games at the venue, the Arun Jaitley Stadium dished out another lovely batting pitch which along with the short boundary on one side meant that run-scoring and boundary hitting was as feasible as it gets. Rahmanullah Gurbaz took full toll of the conditions as he got off to a flier in the first Powerplay as Afghanistan racked up 79 in the first ten overs. Ibrahim Zadran wasn’t as aggressive or fluent but the pair’s century stand put pressure on England’s bowlers early on in the game. Until Jos Buttler turned to spin.

According to the data shown by the host broadcaster, today’s surface had more turn than there was in the previous two games at the venue. It didn’t hinder the batters too much but there was just enough in there for the tweakers to stay in the game. After an unusually expensive start to his spell, Rashid soon found his groove and broke the century opening stand by getting Zadran caught at short mid-wicket. It was a much-needed breakthrough for England who then got two more big wickets in the next 13 deliveries.

Rahmat Shah fell to a fizzy leg break that spun enough to drag him out of the crease momentarily and Buttler did the rest to effect a brisk stumping. The biggest blow came after this, as Gurbaz ended up being the casualty to a horrendous run out initiated by skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi. The innings had suffered a nosedive in momentum and the extra pace of Mark Wood was also causing problems for the batters apart from the tweakers. England’s spinners were disciplined and induced false strokes from Afghanistan’s batters. From 114/0, Afghanistan slipped to 190/6 and another underwhelming score loomed large.

However, young Ikram Alikhil. in his first game of this World Cup, produced a classy fifty under pressure. He was unruffled by pace or spin and showed immense promise after having been drafted into the XI for the out-of-form Najibullah Zadran. The left-hander stitched valuable stands with Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman to ensure that score went beyond respectable levels. England on their part were also a bit loose at the death with a few wayward deliveries. Sam Curran had a forgettable outing throughout.

The lower order fightback meant a strong score for Afghanistan but it still doesn’t look a par score, given the conditions and impending dew factor.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 284 in 49.5 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 80, Ikram Alikhil 58; Adil Rashid 3-42, Joe Root 1-19) vs England

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