England v Afghanistan: T20 World Cup Super 12 – live | T20 World Cup


Key events

WICKET! Gurbaz c Buttler b Wood 10 (Afghanistan 11-1)

Mark Wood strikes with his first ball of the tournament! It’s rapid, the perfect length, and gets the edge of Gurbaz. Buttler does the rest. Gorgeous bowling.

2nd over: Afghanistan 11-0 (Gurbaz 10, Zazai 1) Woakes runs in from the other end and grabs an edge off Gurbaz with his second ball – but the shot has control, the ball staying low on its way to third man as he grabs two. And then a stunning stroke: Gurbaz moves across the stumps, gets down and whips Woakes for six over the fine-leg boundary.

1st over: Afghanistan 2-0 (Gurbaz 1, Zazai 1) Stokes takes the new ball and begins with a dot before Zazai clips to the leg-side for a single. The right-hander Gurbaz blocks one before playing and missing outside off. Another play-and-miss follows as Gurbaz goes down the track for a big swing. A single closes out the over – tidy start from England.

We’ve heard the anthems. Ben Stokes has the ball. Let’s go!

Right then, we’re about 10 minutes away from getting this show on the road. Time for this tune from last year’s tournament to get me in the mood:

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The teams:

England: Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood

Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Farid Malik

England win the toss and choose to bowl

“We just feel like we’d like a chase.” Jos Buttler wins the toss and his men will start with the ball. Willey, Jordan, Salt and Mills miss out for England. They’re going in with seven batters.

In Sydney, New Zealand have thumped hosts and defending champions Australia by 89 runs. What a result that is.

Preamble

They were an over away from winning the whole thing in 2016. In 2021, things were looking good in the semi-final until Jimmy Neesham went big and Daryl Mitchell held his nerve. England have looked the part in this tournament since their 2015 white-ball rejig – but on both occasions they’ve fallen just short, missing that little something special at the backend to seal the deal. Third-time lucky?

The case for going all the way this year is a strong one. After a difficult summer, they made a historic trip over to Pakistan and finished with two dominant displays to take the series 4-3. With a fully-fit Jos Buttler back at the helm, they kicked off this tour of Australia with a 2-0 win earlier this month. There’s a silly amount of power in that batting line-up, Mark Wood’s bowling rockets and, while the Ben Stokes situation is slightly awkward, he brings that extra stardust. England fans, you’re allowed to dream.

But this’ll be a tricky first task. Afghanistan have Rashid Khan, arguably the best T20 cricketer on the planet. Then there are the wily tricks of Mujeeb Ur Rahman to contend with too. Whatever happens, this is gonna be good fun. I’ll be back later with the toss. Drop into my DMs whenever you fancy.



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