The defending champions have now lost two matches – to New Zealand and Afghanistan – and won one – vs Bangladesh – in their first three games, and will need something really big to come out of this stunning defeat.
What’s even more astonishing for the fans, and perhaps for other teams as well, is that now Australia, who have two losses in two games, slipped to the bottom of the 10-team points table, even below Sri Lanka and the Netherlands who also have lost both their matches.
Talking about the match, England were initially rocked by opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who smashed 80 runs in 57 balls but got run out. England made a comeback in the game through wickets in the middle overs before 23-year-old youngster Ikram Alikhil recorded a gritty half-century, scoring 58 runs in 66 balls. Cameos from Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman helped Afghanistan reach a competitive total of 284.
Afghanistan bowled much better than they did against India and had a hold over England right from the start. In the second over, Farooqi got Bairstow, and then the spin trio of Mujeeb, Rashid, and Nabi came on taking 8 wickets between them while Naveen-ul-Haq bowled Jos Buttler.
England lost by a big margin of 69 runs, succumbing to one of the biggest, if not the biggest, upsets in ODI World Cup history. This continued their trend of losing in shock upsets – in 2011 it was Ireland, in 2015 it was Bangladesh, in 2019 it was Sri Lanka, and in 2023, it is now Afghanistan.
Twitter turned into a memefest as England lost to Afghanistan:
Man of the Match Mujeeb Ur Rahman said: Very proud moment to be here in the World Cup and beating the champions. It’s a great achievement for the whole team, we worked hard for this day. We beat such a big team. It was a wonderful performance from the bowlers and the batters. As a spinner, it’s pretty hard to bowl in the powerplay, you have only two fielders outside. That’s something I’ve been working in the nets. Bowling with the new ball and trying to be as consistent as possible. That’s something which has made me more effective. I am always trying to bowl stump to stump and keep it simple. We knew that the dew was going to come and play a part in the latter part. That’s why I was telling the captain to bowl me in the powerplay. We were mentally prepared.