Afghanistan v England: Cricket World Cup – live | Cricket World Cup 2023

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Key events

Afghanistan set England 285 to win!

It’s a target, but given the way Afghanistan started, they’ll be disappointed it’s not bigger; England, meanwhile, will be happy enough but a little concerned about Woakes and Curran.

WICKET! Naveen-ul-Haq run out (Buttler) 5 (Afghanistan 284 all out)

Naveen tries a wild pull, misses, the batters try stealing a single, and Buttler underarms into the stumps.

50th over: Afghanistan 284-9 (Naveen 5, Fazal 2 Farooki forces to mid on and they run one, then Naveen tries a ramp but Topley’s too wide; a single follows.

49th over: Afghanistan 282-9 (Naveen 4, Fazal 1) Both Ikram and Mujeeb batted pretty well, but they were left too much to do after the middle over melted away, and now this final pair are looking gor anything they can get. Wood, though, is a nasty proposition ands he attacks the stumps when Farooki arrives in the middle, a decent block yielding a single. Three dots follow, but them Naveen, offered width, makes room and flings hands, sending four racing away somewhere on the off side. What can the last pair make of the final over?

WICKET! Mujeeb Ur Rahman c Root b Wood 28 (Afghanistan 277-9)

Mujeeb backs away, sends a carve high in the air, and Root, freeing arms and calling for the catch, holds his fourth snaffle of the innings.

WICKET! Ikram Alikhil c Curran b Topley 58 (Afghanistan 277-8)

Slower one from Toley and Ikram thrashes at it but, on the long on fence, Curran pouches nonchalantly without having to move his feet.

48th over: Afghanistan 277-7 (Alikhil 58, Mujeeb 28) Topley continues and after Mujeeb takes one, Ikram gets down on one knee and smites a slower one over midwicket for six! That stayed hit! He misses out next ball though, a wide yorker yielding just one, and when he backs away the bowler follows him; he forces one more off the pads. A beamer no-ball/single follows, so Mujeeb has a go at a free hit … and flicks off the tootsies to midwicket, where Woakes’ excellent tumbling stop saves a boundary as they run three.

47th over: Afghanistan 263-7 (Alikhil 50, Mujeeb 23) Usually, Woakes would bowl now, but Buttler goes for Wood – perhaps because of his extra pace, but also, I think, because he’s bowling better and England are still repairing their net run rate after the New Zealand tousing. Ikram takes a single to midwicket, then Mujeeb swings hard, edging high over the keeper for four before moving down the other end with one edged to fine leg. So Wood tries a boompah and it’s far too hot for Ikram, who gloves two wide of Buttler’s dive to fine leg. That’s his fifty, and he’s batted well; the partnership is 30 off 18.

Let’s not forget that ‘putting a jumper on’ is not a solution for having cold hands,” chides Andy Flintoff, “and neither is ‘putting gloves on’, particularly if you’re doing something that involves dexterity.”

Here’s Denis Law proving to the contrary and as for feet, some kind of sock might be in order?

denis law with sleeves over hands
Photograph: Colorsport/REX/Shutterstock

46th over: Afghanistan 255-7 (Alikhil 47, Mujeeb 18) Ikram jams Curran away for one, then Mujeeb absolutely cleanses him from outside off to the fence at midwicket! It sat up pleading for treatment got it, and then the next delivery, a no ball, slips out of the bowler’s hand so Mujeeb goes again, smashing a failed yorker through point for four … then turns away from the free hit, clobbering six over midwicket nevertheless! That’s 15 from three balls, a two follows, and the over yields a mere 18! Four more biggies for Afghanistan, and who knows?

“As I keep reminding Mrs McMahon, Daniel,” says Simon McMahon, “growing up in a house where the heating went on for one week in January didn’t do me any harm. Now I, like my father before me, am doing my bit for the planet. Though I hope not to die alone in a freezing cold house like he did.”

No accounting for choice.

45th over: Afghanistan 237-7 (Alikhil 46, Mujeeb 2) Four singles complete (yet another) telling spell from Rashid, who finishes with 3-42 from his 10 overs. You simply cannot beat a reliable, wicket-taking spinner – in any form of the game.

WICKET! Rashid Khan c Root b Rashid23 (Afghanistan 233-7)

What a grab this is! Rashid clears the front pad and hoiks across the line as Root chases around the fence towards wide long-on, eyes focused on the ball, before flying into a terrific diving catch. That’s so hard to pull off, and it was the effort put into the first two yards that made it possible.

England's Joe Root takes a catch to dismiss Afghanistan's Rashid Khan.
England’s Joe Root takes a catch to dismiss Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

44th over: Afghanistan 233-6 (Alikhil 44, Rashid 23) Curran’s first two overs went for 26, and he won’t have enjoyed being rusticated to the rope until now. He returns well though, ceding just two singles, and this Afghanistan innings is petering out in disappointing fashion.

“I don’t get all the fuss about the home heating being on or not at this time of year,” writes John Starbuck. “First, it depends where you are, second, you can do away with the bother of deciding by automatically having the heating come on when the temperature drops below 20C and off again when it rises. Granted, I do put on another garment if the sun is shining on the front of the house and I’m in the back, but it’s no big deal. Yes, women do tend to feel the cold more than men but it varies a lot, so no rule works for everyone.”

I think it’s because keeping bills down is sort of a game but, since things went wild, also a necessity, and those meters that tell you how much energy they use and at what cost, are devastating for those unable to focus and keen to turn everything into some kind of contest.

43rd over: Afghanistan 231-6 (Alikhil 43, Rashid 22) Afghanistan haven’t been able to convert their start, but them getting it tells us – if we didn’t already know, which we did – that they’re developing as a side. What they need now is time – more games against teams better than them – and money – redistributed from richer nations to keep going. In the meantime, though, they take a two and two singles from Rashid’s penultimate over; surely, with Curran returning, they’ll now look to chuck hands?

42nd over: Afghanistan 227-6 (Alikhil 42, Rashid 19) Ikram has cemented his spot in the side and offered a little width he opens the face, guiding four through third man. That’s a really nice shot because Topley is running in, but he can’t manage anything from the next four balls, redeeming things slightly by tucking the final ball of the over to two to midwicket, sprinted hard – and just as well, because Bairstow’s shy is a good one.

39th over: Afghanistan 221-6 (Alikhil 36, Rashid 19) England’s Rashid returns, and his importance to this side – to this era – really cannot be overstated. His introduction to the attack altered the flow of this match, his bravery in looking to spin the ball and take wickets also reflected in his reliable economy. With Afghanistan needing boundaries, he cedes five singles, and though the partnership is now 31, scoring has been far too slow given the circumstances.

Adil Rashid
Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Shutterstock

40th over: Afghanistan 216-6 (Alikhil 33, Rashid 17) Good news for England: Topley returns to the attack. His dad Don, Graham Gooch’s old Essex mate, was in the crowd, and he’ll have felt that pang when his boy pulled up – he did not look at all happy, and I wonder if instructions not to dive, ever, had been disbursed. Anyroad, three singles start the over, then Ikram glances fine for four to fine leg; a wide, a single and a dot follow.

39th over: Afghanistan 207-6 (Alikhil 27, Rashid 15) Eeesh, Wood hurtles in at the speed of light and after Rashid takes a single, Ikram ducks into what the man himself would call a “lift-ah” and wears a right sair yin on the shoulder. He takes a breather, then two further singles follow,” and Afghanistan will have to go some in the final 10 overs to put England under pressure.

“It was a petty tussle between the controllers of the Delhi & District Cricket Association on one side & the Delhi State & Central Govt on the other side,” returns Yogi on the Gautam Gambhier stand. “Two different political parties. The old Kotla ground was to be renovated for WC2011 & the Govts withdrew permission at the last moment. As a result the playing area had to be moved 50m to the North West which squeezed the area available for the GG as it is back to back with the old Delhi Football stadium. We also have the old dilapidated original pavilion which was declared a Heritage building & can’t be demolished.”

Ikram Alikhil in action.
Ikram Alikhil in action. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

38th over: Afghanistan 204-6 (Alikhil 26, Rashid 13) Livingstone begins his final over and Ikram takes one to mid off, then Rashid cuts and somehow avoids gully – though in fairness, he got a decent amount of bat on ball. A single follows, so the Lanky man ends with figures of 1-33 off his 10. On the PA, they play Rema’s Calm Dow so again, I ask: what is the verse and what is the chorus of that song? And when was the last time a single when around the world like that? Somebody That I Used To Know?

37th over: Afghanistan 198-6 (Alikhil 25, Rashid 8) Rashid can bat a bit and the crowd chant his name as Wood springs in … then he presents the full face, caressing a gorgeous drive through extra for four! Wood’s bowling fast now, but Rashid isn’t arsed, going at one and slicing between fielders for four! This is thrilling stuff, Wood is such an energetic presence – Steve Harmison, say, used to almost amble in and then generate delivery-stride pace from nowhere, whereas Wood is an elastic force; you can see every single click of the 69,034mph at which he bowls.

“You make a very good point about the asymmetry of the heating conundrum,” returns Brian Withington. “However, my chilly wife is curiously unpersuaded about the merits of slipping a hoodie on to take a shower, even at the bidding of the Guardian’s finest…”

I’m not advocating denying hot water, just hot pipes! You’re a braver man than me, that’s for sure.

WICKET! Nabi c Root b Wood 9 (Afghanistan 190-6)

Wood returns, unleashes a psychopath that gets big on Nabi, and all he can do is glance an easy one to Root at short backward point/deep gully, depending on your bent.

Mark Wood of England celebrates the wicket of Mohammad Nabi.
Mark Wood of England celebrates the wicket of Mohammad Nabi. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

36th over: Afghanistan 190-5 (Alikhil 25, Nabi 9) Livingstone tucks Ikram up, a soupçon of spin enough to beat the bat … but Buttler fumbles his take and the batter gets back when he ought to have been history! Four singles follow, and though he’d have fancied another wicket, this is a telling spell from Livingstone.

35th over: Afghanistan 186-5 (Alikhil 23, Nabi 7) Wood returns for Root and Ikram nurdles his loosener for one; Nabi then misses with a cut before bumping a single to third man before Ikram does similarly. To make a match of this, Afghanistan need to get a wriggle on, and soon.

34th over: Afghanistan 183-5 (Alikhil 21, Nabi 6) On which topic, one of my friends – before he got married – used to enjoy sending round his winter heating bill, having sat there in fleece and beanie for three months, radiators off. Quite how he made his grilled cheese, I’m not sure, but anyway, five singles from this latest Livingstone over and he’s now 1-23 off eight.

33rd over: Afghanistan 178-5 (Alikhil 18, Nabi 4) Afghanistan have now lost five wickets for 50, and that does, I guess, reflect a difference between the best sides and the others: the ability and depth to press home an advantage. But, as I type that, Nabi – having played away four dots – decides he’s seen enough, clattering Root to the fence at deep square.

“Just to echo Simon McMahon,” says Brian Withington, “the boost option on my iPhone Tado central heating app (other phones and apps are available) has already been pressed into service today in response to plaintive cries for succour from ‘she who must be warmed up’. I wonder if Chris Woakes has a similar button?”

It’s a strange thing this, because hoodies are available, whereas it’s not as though the warmer partner can simply shed a layer of skin.

WICKET! Hashmatullah Shahidi b Root 14 (Afghanistan 174-5)

Root is such a useful weapon, and when he hits a length, Hashmatullah can’t decide whether to forward or backwards, the ball coming on, cramping him, and removing his bails! He’s now got to go and face Gurbaz!

32nd over: Afghanistan 174-4 (Hashmatullah 14, Alikhil 18) Singles to mid on and deep square, then Ikram sweeps fineand they run two. In comms, they wonder if England will drop Woakes, which seems unlikely given his record and reliability – with bat and in the field too – but another bum display next weekend and there’ll be questions.

31st over: Afghanistan 170-4 (Hashmatullah 14, Alikhil 14) Ikram bunts Root to mid on for one, then Hashmatullah guides another to cover point. A further single follows, and I imagine these two are taking runs where they find them, so that they’re there for a thrash closer to the end.

30th over: Afghanistan 167-4 (Hashmatullah 12, Alikhil 13) Beauty from Livingstone, grip, turn and bounce too good for Ikram’s outside edge. More dots follow, a shove to cover for one the only run off the over, and Livingstone is soo good at imperceptibly disappearing balls; he’s 1-14 off six and I can barely remember anything that’s happened while he’s been bowling.

29th over: Afghanistan 166-4 (Hashmatullah 12, Alikhil 12) Ikram doesn’t wait to be asked! When Root drags one down, he dismisses it from his countenance with requisite disgust, humping six over midwicket, and a single to deep square follows. I wonder if Buttler will send Rashid back on soon to try and break this partnership.

Ikram Alikhil hits a six.
Ikram Alikhil hits a six. Photograph: Manish Swarup/AP

28th over: Afghanistan 157-4 (Hashmatullah 11, Alikhil 4) 114-0 to 152-4 represents a missed opportunity for Afghanistan because, though England’s spinners have done well, Gurbaz was in and flying when his captain needlessly called him through for a single that wasn’t there. This latest Livingstone over yields two that were, and his variety is proving hard to pick.

27th over: Afghanistan 157-4 (Hashmatullah 11, Alikhil 4) Root into the attack instead of Woakes and that looks a smart move – it’s the spinners causing issues. Afghanistan won’t mind that per se, as theirs will need to fire if they’re to win here, but they’ll probably need more runs than they now look like getting … but there are four more, Ikram waiting for Root and slamming to the point fence. He’s off the mark.

26th over: Afghanistan 152-4 (Hashmatullah 8, Alikhil 0) Jos Buttler won’t like how his side started this match – remember the five they conceded from the first ball – but they’ve been impressive since.

WICKET! Azmatullah c Woakes b Livingstone 19 (Afghanistan 152-4)

This is a decent spell from Livingstone who tosses up, inciting Azmatullah to back away and go hard, but he’s stretching and Woakes takes easily at long off.

England’s Liam Livingstone celebrates the wicket of Afghanistan’s Azmatullah Omarzai.
England’s Liam Livingstone celebrates the wicket of Afghanistan’s Azmatullah Omarzai. Photograph: Pankaj Nangia/Shutterstock

25th over: Afghanistan 149-3 (Hashmatullah 8, Azmatullah 18) Sensible captaincy from Buttler, who restores Woakes to the attack when the going’s good … and Azmatullah swings his second ball for six over long on! Goodness me, he’s had better days, and when he goes full on about sixth, a decent bit of timing sends four more just wide of Brook’s dive on the cover-point fence! Afghanistan needed that!

24th over: Afghanistan 139-3 (Hashmatullah 8, Azmatullah 8) The batters take a single each from the three remaining balls of the over, and that 300+ of which Hashmatullah spoke at the toss looks a fairly distant proposition all off a sudden.

Other heating tricks: turning off individual radiators; using a heated towel rail to warm a room I think my wife might use.


Good call from the umpire: the ball was bouncing over the top. Still, though, it was a goodun, and England have done well to take control of this match.

Liam Livingstone of England unsuccessfully appeals for the LBW of Hashmatullah Shahidi.
Liam Livingstone of England unsuccessfully appeals for the LBW of Hashmatullah Shahidi. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

24th over: Afghanistan 137-3 (Hashmatullah 7, Azmatullah 7) I was sort of dropping him earlier, but Livingstone is so useful to this England side and when Hashmatullah misses looking to turn away an off-spinner, there’s an appeal. Not out says the umpire and Butler reviews; I think it’s missing leg…

23rd over: Afghanistan 135-3 (Hashmatullah 6, Azmatullah 6) This track is a bit flat but it’s skiddy too, which is one reason Woakes took tap – balls were either sitting up or skidding on. Rashid, though, is finding that helpful and when – after a single and a wide – Azmatullah takes a tight one, he narrowly avoids causing a run out, Livingstone’s throw missing the stumps by a fraction. The further singles follow, and six off the over makes this Afghanistan’s best in a while.

22nd over: Afghanistan 130-3 (Hashmatullah 3, Azmatullah 4) Yup, clever move getting the other spinner on with two batters who like to take things slowly looking to get going. Llivingstone cedes two singles, and all that work the openers did is in now in jeopardy.

21st over: Afghanistan 127-3 (Hashmatullah 2, Azmatullah 3) England are on top now, Rashid wheeling through another miserly over. These two batted nicely against India, but to set a sporting target, they’ve not got long to play themselves in.

“Enough of the cricket,” emails Simon McMahon. “Is the heating on? The one hour ‘boost’ setting on the heating control panel has saved my marriage on more than one occasion. Much like cricket and comedy, it’s all about the timing.”

Ha, the heating remains dormant and I remain attached. The problem tends to come when arrival is unannounced.

A scoreboard operator looks on during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023 between England and Afghanistan at Arun Jaitley Stadium.
A scoreboard operator looks on during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup India 2023 between England and Afghanistan at Arun Jaitley Stadium. Photograph: Darrian Traynor-ICC/ICC/Getty Images

20th over: Afghanistan 125-3 (Hashmatullah 1, Azmatullah 2) Sensing weakness, England introduce Livingstone, presumably to rush through a few cheap overs. In co-comms, Shane Watson muses that Gurbaz could easily have called no and not run, as we see footage of him shouting and whacking his bat on things. OK, fair enough, you’re right; I said you have to feel for him, but that tantrum is very funny. Two singles off the over.

19th over: Afghanistan 123-3 (Hashmatullah 0, Azmatullah 1) You’ve got to feel for Gurbaz, who looked set for a maiden World Cup ton; Hashamatullah needs to score here, because if he doesn’t, he’s going to be hearing some thoughts when he returns to the dressing room.

WICKET! Gurbaz run out (sub Willey/Buttler) 80 (Afghanistan 122-3)

Oh mates! Ohhhh maaaaaates! Hashmatullah half-bats one into the on side, calls a single that doesn’t exist and, as Willy hurls in, a full-length dive isn’t enough to get a raging Gurbaz even close to in. After a brilliant start, Afghanistan are in danger of throwing it away.

Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz is run out by England’s David Willey.
Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz is run out by England’s David Willey. Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

WICKET! Rahmat st Buttler b Rashid 3 (Afghanistan 122-2)

Fine bowling from Rashid, who finds just enough dip and spin to deceive the batter, ball moving away from bat, and foot leaving crease, just.

Afghanistan's Rahmat Shah.
Afghanistan’s Rahmat Shah. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

19th over: Afghanistan 122-1 (Gurbaz 80, Rahmat 3) Topley is back by the England bench, so I think he might be good to return. That’s excellent if so, but back in the middle Rahmat looks to push away on the off side, misses, Buttler swipes off the bails, and he’s sure eesgoteem….

18th over: Afghanistan 122-1 (Gurbaz 80, Rahmat 3) He does the sensible thing and gets down the other end quicksmart, then Gurbaz, again opens the face to run a brace down to third man. He’s been pretty much faultless on the off side and, as I type, forces two more away on the on. Two singles follow, and that’s seven off what felt lilk a quiet over.

As per my earlier update, Ben Stokes about to tell you he’s just ordered the greatest ethno-noise white label.

ben stokes in sungalsses
Photograph: Darrian Traynor-ICC/ICC/Getty Images

17th over: Afghanistan 115-1 (Gurbaz 74, Rahmat 1) When England needed something, it was their most experienced bowler who found it, and how on earth will they cope when he tiuns it in – perhaps after this tournament. Rahmat pushes him down the ground for one to get off the mark, but I wonder if Wood will go hard at him now.

WICKET! Ibrahim c Root b Rashid 28 (Afghanistan 114-1)

Finally England are in the match! Ibrahim clears his front leg thinking he can flick over Root at short midwicket, but a leaping catch removes him. What a start that opening partnership has given this match, though.

Adil Rashid of England celebrates the wicket of Ibrahim Zadran.
Adil Rashid of England celebrates the wicket of Ibrahim Zadran. Photograph: Darrian Traynor-ICC/ICC/Getty Images

16th over: Afghanistan 111-0 (Gurbaz 74, Ibrahim 26) Ibrahim signals for a new bat and gets one, but it’s Gurbaz facing Wood now and he turns it around the corner so Topley, on the fence, pursues, half-dives … can’t prevent the four … and looks to have hurt his knee. Oh man, that is not good to see, and I really hope he’s OK – he’s had so many injuries and worked so hard to get back. He’s limping around the fence and my sense is that he’s done for today but not too badly hurt; Gus Atkinson, though, will be scenting the distant whiff of opportunity. Anyroad, back in the now, Gurbaz eases a single down to third, and aside from the his brutally brilliant batting, the most notable aspect of this match so far has been England’s inability even to threaten a breakthrough.

15th over: Afghanistan 106-0 (Gurbaz 69, Ibrahim 26) Rashid continues and England will hope he can at least put a brake on the scoring; he can, sending down a maiden – the first of the innings. The rate is 7.06.

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