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Match reports

England v Afghanistan

Wisden's review of England v Afghanistan

Lawrence Booth
Lawrence Booth
At Delhi, March 23, 2016. England won by 15 runs. Toss: England.
For the second game in succession, England proved that Twenty20 can indeed ebb and flow. This time, they needed a flurry from Ali and Willey to bail them out, after Afghanistan's spinners had them floundering at 85 for seven. And, when Willey helped reduce the Afghans to 13 for three, it was tempting to wonder what all the fuss had been about. Yet England's ineptitude against slow bowling, on a sluggish surface offering less turn than expected, recalled ghosts of collapses past. From 42 for one, they surrendered three wickets in an over from off-spinner Mohammad Nabi - including Morgan, who lost his middle stump first ball offering no stroke, and Root, run out after Stokes did not respond to his call for a quick single. Buttler and Stokes, who failed to read Rashid Khan's googly, went in successive overs to leave England 57 for six in the tenth, and send Afghanistan's vociferous supporters wild. Ali, however, set about saving face. He put on 28 with the circumspect Jordan, then an unbeaten 57 in 33 balls with Willey. But it wasn't until the 19th over, bowled by slow left-armer Hamza Hotak and costing 25, that the mood changed. Chasing 143, Afghanistan lost the dangerous Mohammad Shahzad in the first over, trapped third ball by a Willey inswinger, and never recovered. The noose was tightened mid-innings by Rashid, while Plunkett - who had replaced Reece Topley - rattled through four overs for 12. England's only regret was Shafiqullah Shinwari's unbeaten 35 from No. 9, which deprived their net run-rate of a much-needed boost.
Man of the Match: M. M. Ali.