By Victor Kanayo
Afghanistan on Sunday stunned England in the ongoing 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup.
The Arab country surprisingly beat the defending Champions by 69 runs on Sunday at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi.
Holders England crumbled for 215 runs in front of Afghanistan’s trio of spinners after winning the toss and asking Afghanistan to bat first.
How England Cookies Crumbled
As captured by Reuters, the underdogs set England a target of 285 runs, thanks to a blistering knock of 80 runs off 57 balls from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz and a half-century from wicketkeeper Ikram Alikhil.
Spinners Rashid Khan (23) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (28) contributed in a lower-order flourish that saw Afghanistan put up a competitive total and allow their bowlers to go all-out against the England batters.
Boasting a powerful batting lineup, England were handed an early loss when left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi dismissed opener Jonny Bairstow in the second over.
From then on, Afghanistan’s spinners took over as off spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman bowled out Joe Root for 11 runs and Mohammad Nabi dismissed Dawid Malan for 32.
England captain Jos Buttler was dimissed for nine runs by pace bowler Naveen-ul-Haq.
Star leg spinner Rashid Khan added to England’s woes by dismissing Liam Livingstone and Adil Rashid.
Harry Brook put up a resistance with his 66-run innings, but fell to Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the 35th over to send England reeling at 169-8.
England lost the tournament’s opening match against New Zealand by nine wickets, but beat Bangladesh by 137 runs.
Afghanistan suffered heavy losses in both their matches, as they lost to Bangladesh by six wickets and then to hosts India by eight wickets.