The Great Upset: Afghanistan bring World Cup to life with England conquest

England suffered a major shock at the hands of Afghanistan in Delhi as a sorry 69-run defeat left their World Cup defence in real jeopardy.

Their first loss to Afghanistan in any format does not end England’s chances but leaves them with little room for manoeuvre in their final six group stage games.

After a lacklustre bowling performance allowed Afghanistan to reach 284 all out, England’s batters succumbed under the lights and were bowled out for 215.

Jonny Bairstow fell lbw to left-armer Fazalhaq Farooqi in the second over, Joe Root was bowled by Mujeeb Ur Rahman for 11, and Dawid Malan tamely chipped to extra cover.

Only Harry Brook, who made 66, offered any resistance – captain Jos Buttler was the fourth to fall as seamer Naveen-ul-Haq comprehensively bowled him.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz got off to a flier•Oct 15, 2023•Associated Press

England’s wayward seamers had earlier gifted Afghanistan a platform of 100-0 after 13 overs, with opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz crashing 80 from 57 balls.

Adil Rashid dragged back some control with 3-42, but more loose bowling at the death, plus 58 from Ikram Alikhil, took Afghanistan to a decent score.

This is only Afghanistan’s second win at a 50-over World Cup and was celebrated wildly by their loud support in the ground.

England, looking to defend the title they won so memorably four years ago, have now lost two of their opening three games and play in-form South Africa next Saturday in Mumbai. (BBC)