Afghanistan Stuns Defending Champion England in World Cup Upset
Historically, Afghanistan’s cricket team has often been considered an underdog in World Cup matches, letting more established teams escape unscathed. Their fearless approach to trading wickets for quick runs, while commendable, often led to inexperience playing a role in their inability to seize pivotal moments in the game. However, on October 15, the tide turned as Afghanistan, the “hunted,” became the “hunter.”
At the Ferozeshah Kotla ground, Afghanistan pulled off the World Cup’s most significant upset by defeating the defending champion, England. In an unexpected turn, Afghanistan was asked to bat first and posted a total of 284, their second-highest in World Cup history. They followed this up with a brilliant performance with the ball, recording a historic 69-run victory over England. This victory marked the end of Afghanistan’s 14-match losing streak in the World Cup dating back to 2015.
The surprising result left both teams with a record of one win and two losses and pushed Australia to the bottom of the points table.
England initially underestimated Afghanistan, hoping to achieve an easy victory. However, their opponents had other plans. After seamer Fazal Farooqi trapped Jonny Bairstow leg-before, Afghanistan’s spin trio of Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Mohammad Nabi, and Rashid Khan took eight wickets. The English batting order crumbled as Joe Root played the wrong line, in-form Dawid Malan chipped to short extra-cover, and more wickets fell. England was left baffled as Afghanistan celebrated a stunning win.
Relying on their experience of playing India just four nights earlier, Afghanistan posted a challenging total that ultimately secured their victory. England was taken aback by the contrasting approach of Afghan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran. Although Zadran fell after a 114-run partnership dominated by Gurbaz, England managed to regain momentum. In the end, Afghanistan improved their total from their previous match against India but fell short of their best against the West Indies in 2019.