It was expected to be a one-sided contest and this was certainly the same. In the 24th match of the ICC World Cup 2019, hosts England registered a sensational 150-run victory over Afghanistan at the Old Trafford, Manchester. The home team posted a massive first innings total on the back of Eoin Morgan’s belligerent century knock and vital contributions from Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root. In the second innings, the Afghanistan batters did show some sort of fight but the chase was always going to be an impossible task for them and eventually, they fell short by a healthy margin. With this huge win, England have now reached the top position on the points tally.
Morgan's terrific ton fires England to massive 397
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, the two England openers, James Vince and Jonny Bairstow started things off on a decent note. They added 44 runs for the opening wicket stand before Vince got out for a 31-ball 26 in the 10th over. The pair of Bairstow and Joe Root then got together for a significant stand of 120 runs. Bairstow smacked an excellent innings of 90 runs that included of eight fours and three sixes before getting dismissed by Gulbadin Naib.
The duo of Root and Eoin Morgan then stitched a staggering partnership of 189 runs and batted quite aggressively as well. Morgan entertained the crowd with some sensational hitting and notched up the fourth fastest World Cup ton off just 57 balls that included of 17 sixes.
In the end, England did suffer a slight collapse as first Root got out for an 82-ball 88 and then the next three wickets also fell quickly, but Moeen Ali played an amazing cameo of 31 runs to power England to a massive total of 397 runs. For Afghanistan, Zadran and Naib did pick up three wickets each but also gave away too many runs.
Afghans battle hard in the mammoth chase
Chasing a mammoth target of 398 runs, Afghanistan got off to a poor start as their opener Noor Ali Zadran once again failed to have a decent outing with the bat and got out in just the second over of the innings. The duo of skipper Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah then joined hands to resurrect the Afghan innings and avoid yet another batting collapse. They put on a decent partnership of 48 runs before the Afghanistan skipper was sent back to the pavilion in the 12th over. Rahmat Shah then added a brief stand of 52 runs along with Hashmatullah Shahidi, but was dismissed by leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
At the halfway stage, Afghanistan batters’ plan looked clear that they are not aiming to chase down the total and will just bat through the innings. The duo of Hashmatullah and Asghar Afghan stitched an excellent partnership of 94 runs for the fourth wicket. Shahidi played a significant knock of 76 runs off 100 balls that included of five fours and two sixes.
Afghanistan managed to score 247/8 in their quota of 50 overs and were successful in their aim of batting through. For England, Adil Rashid was the pick of the bowlers, claiming three crucial wickets. Jofra Archer also finished with three scalps to his name, while Mark Wood picked up two wickets.
England: 397/6 in 50 overs (Eoin Morgan-148, Jonny Bairstow-90, Joe Root-88; Gulbadin Naib 3/68)
Afghanistan: 247/8 in 50 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi-76, Rahmat Shah-46; Jofra Archer 3/ Adil Rashid 3/66)
Result: England won the match by 150 runs.