England survived a scare as they beat Afghanistan in a crucial match by just 14 runs at the Feroshah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi. Moeen Ali made the difference for England which helped them to post a competitive total but Afghanistan lost wickets at regular intervals which made it tough to beat a top nation.
Afghanistan spinners putting pressure on England batsmen
England won the toss and choose to bat at Feroshah Kotla. Afghanistan started the innings with Hamza Hotak. In the first over he went for only 1 run. He picked the wicket of Jason Roy in his second over. Nabi was introduced in the 6th over and picked 2 crucial wickets of Morgan and Vince to reduce England to 42 for 3. The rest of spinners Shenwari, Nabi and Rashid Khan bowled with control and did not allow the England batsmen to score runs with ease. All these spinners bowled 8 overs and gave away 57 picking 5 wickets between them. England was struggling at 65 for 6.
England inability to play Afghanistan spinners
England continued to struggle against the Afghanistan spinners at Delhi. In the previous match, England had chased a massive target of 230 against South Africa. As the pitch changed the England failed to adapt. Jason Roy was dismissed coming down to track while Vince was deceived in the flight, Morgan was bowled leaving a straight bowl from Nabi. All the England batsmen tried to play shots and were dismissed. Ben Stokes was dismissed playing a loose shot which kept low.
Moeen Ali and Willey partnership rescued the England innings
Moeen Ali and Willey joined together when England was struggling in the 15th over. They were 85 for 7. Moeen Ali and Willey played some excellent shots creating pressure on the Afghanistan bowlers. In the 19th over Moeen Ali and Willey smashed Hamza Hotak for 25 runs with 3 sixes and 1 four. Moeen Ali and Willey helped England to recover and post a competitive total of 142 for 7 in 20 overs. Willey also contributed 20 important runs.
Afghanistan losing 3 early wickets
Chasing a target of 143, the Afghanistan openers needed to give the team a good start. Mohammad Shahzad hit a boundary of the second ball but was dismissed the next ball. They lost the second wicket of captain. By the end of the 3rd over Afghanistan had lost their 3rd wicket and had reduced them to 12 for 3. England bowlers did not give the chance Afghanistan batsmen to hit shots. Afghanistan could not cope with the pace and bounce of the England bowlers. Willey picked 2 wickets and Jordan 1.
Shafiq plays a cameo knock but could not win for Afghanistan
Shafiq came in place of Dawlat Zadran. He came to the crease when Afghanistan was struggling at 88 for 7 in the 16th over. Shenwari was dismissed for 21 leaving Afghanistan in big trouble at 94 for 8. Shafaq then took the charge and played some excellent shots. When Afghanistan needed 35 runs off 12 balls, Shafiq hit a four and six. In the last over Afghanistan needed 24 off 6 balls he smashed a four but could not do much with the rest of four 4 balls. In the last ball, he hit a boundary. At the end, Shafaq remained not out on 35 off 20 balls. This showed that if proper batsmen would have stayed with him then Afghanistan could have won the match.
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