• 16 October 2023
  • Ana Gems
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In a thrilling contest in New Delhi, off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman played a crucial role in securing a resounding victory for his team. He delivered a stellar performance, taking three pivotal wickets for just 51 runs in his 10 overs. What’s more, he showcased his batting prowess, scoring a rapid 28 runs from just 16 balls, deserving the player of the match accolade.

Mujeeb expressed, “I have dedicated extensive effort to consistently perform with the new ball during the power play. The entire team has put in relentless hard work to achieve this remarkable outcome. It is an immensely proud moment for us to be here in the World Cup and to have triumphed against the reigning champions.”

The match began with Afghanistan’s opener, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, launching a spectacular assault on the English bowlers, amassing a stunning 80 runs from 57 balls, studded with eight fours and four sixes. However, his innings was cut short by a run-out, as England had opted to field first. Wrist spinner Adil Rashid played a significant role in the English attack, claiming three wickets for 42 runs, making Afghanistan’s total of 284 seem modest given the favorable batting conditions.

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England’s campaign now stands on shaky ground with challenging matches ahead against South Africa, India, and Pakistan.

England’s chase got off to a rocky start as Jonny Bairstow (2) was dismissed leg before wicket to Fazalhaq Farooqi following a review that went against the opener. Dawid Malan (32) and Joe Root (11) attempted to steady the ship with a 30-run partnership for the second wicket.

However, Mujeeb Ur Rahman broke through by dismissing Root, and Mohammad Nabi (2-16 in six overs) caught Malan in the seventh over, marking his 150th ODI appearance.

The Afghanistan spinners proved to be a constant challenge for the English batsmen, preventing them from settling into their innings. They couldn’t even take advantage of the dewy conditions under lights on what appeared to be a batsman-friendly surface.

Rashid Khan (3-37 in 9.3 overs) trapped Liam Livingstone for 10, while Nabi claimed his second wicket by dismissing Sam Curran. In the midst of this, Naveen ul Haq bowled out skipper Jos Buttler (9) with a brilliant in-swinger, further denting England’s hopes.

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In a valiant effort, Harry Brook was the lone Englishman standing, scoring a determined 50 runs from 45 balls, featuring seven fours and a six. Nevertheless, it proved insufficient due to the lack of substantial partnerships, particularly as Mujeeb and Rashid dismantled England’s batting lineup.