The biggest upset of the World Cup 2023 occurred at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi as Afghanistan defeated England by 69 runs on Sunday.
This marked Afghanistan’s second World Cup victory, with their previous win in the 2015 tournament against Scotland in New Zealand. It was also the first time Afghanistan triumphed over England in an ODI match.
The defending champions faced challenges from the beginning on the tricky Delhi wicket. Pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi removed England’s dependable opener, Jonny Bairstow, with an inswinger on the first ball of his spell. Joe Root initially looked in good form but fell to a peach of a delivery by Mujeeb ur Rehman after scoring just 11 runs. Skipper Jos Buttler struggled with the bat from the moment he stepped onto the field and was dismissed for just nine runs, thanks to a brilliant delivery by Naveen ul Haq.
Harry Brook was the only English batter to withstand Afghanistan’s attack and played a significant innings, scoring 66 runs off 61 balls with eight boundaries. But even his efforts couldn’t change the course of the match, as he was dismissed by Mujeeb.
England struggled on the slow and unresponsive pitch, losing wickets at regular intervals and ultimately being bowled out for 215 runs. Rashid and Mujeeb claimed three wickets each, Mohammad Nabi took two, while Farooqi and Naveen got one each.
Batting first, Afghanistan got off to a flying start with Rahmanullah Gurbaz scoring 80 runs off 57 balls, including 12 boundaries. He was on his way to a century but was run out, just 20 runs short of the milestone.
After Gurbaz’s dismissal, Afghanistan lost wickets quickly, but Ikram Akhil’s 58 and valuable contributions from Rashid (23) and Mujeeb (28) pushed their total to a competitive 284 runs.
Adil Rashid was England’s most successful bowler, taking three wickets for 42 runs, while Mark Wood claimed two wickets with his pace.
With only one win in three matches, things have become challenging for Jos Buttler and his England side. They will face an in-form South Africa next on October 21 in Mumbai. Meanwhile, Afghanistan will play against New Zealand on October 18 in Chennai, a venue known for its spinning wickets, where Shahidi’s team may leverage their world-class spin attack.