Section: Afghanistan

Cricket World Cup: England bow out with nine-wicket win

England’s World Cup campaign ended with a nine-wicket victory over Afghanistan in a rain-affected match in Sydney.

World Cup Pool A, Sydney:
Afghanistan 111-7 (36.2 overs): Shafiqullah 30, Jordan 2-13
England 101-1 (18.1 overs): Bell 52, Hamid Hassan 1-14
England won by nine wickets

Already out after one win from five games, they opted to bowl and had the minnows at 20-2 by the first stoppage.

Chris Jordan and Ravi Bopara both took two wickets and the Afghans were 111-7 in the 37th over before rain revised England’s target to 101 from 25 overs.

Alex Hales, dropped on 0 and 12, hit two sixes in 37 and Ian Bell was 52 not out as England won with 41 balls left.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: New Zealand beat Afghanistan

New Zealand made it five wins from five at the World Cup as a six-wicket win in Napier eliminated Afghanistan from quarter-final contention.

World Cup Pool A, Napier:
Afghanistan 186 (47.4 overs): Najibullah 56, Shenwari 54, Vettori 4-18
New Zealand 188-4 (36.1 overs): Guptill 57, McCullum 42
New Zealand won by six wickets

Veteran spinner Daniel Vettori (4-18) reduced Afghanistan to 59-6 before Samiullah Shenwari (54) and Najibullah Zadran (56) helped them to 186 all out.

Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum then hit a rapid 42 from 19 balls.

Martin Guptill made 57 as the Kiwis, already in the quarter-finals, cruised home with 13.5 overs to spare.

McCullum powered two boundaries in the first over of New Zealand’s reply and by the time his entertaining cameo was ended when he edged Mohammad Nabi onto his stumps via his pads, they were 53-1 in the sixth over and on course for victory.

Australia’s 64-run win over Sri Lanka in Sydney later on Sunday confirmed New Zealand as Pool A winners.

It looked as though the co-hosts would face a much smaller target thanks to Vettori, who was introduced as early as the third over to allow the opening bowlers to change ends and knocked over teenager Usman Ghani’s off stump with his first ball.

After seamer Trent Boult accounted for Javed Ahmadi and Asghar Stanikzai, Vettori returned for a second spell to bowl Nawroz Mangal (27) for the 36-year-old’s 300th one-day international wicket.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Australia post World Cup record score in win over Afghanistan

Australia posted a World Cup record total of 417-6 as they beat Afghanistan by 275 runs – the biggest winning margin in the tournament’s history.

World Cup Pool A, Perth:
Australia 417-6 (50 overs): Warner 178, Smith 95, Maxwell 88
Afghanistan 142 all out (50 overs): Mangal 33, Johnson 4-22
Australia won by 275 runs

David Warner hit 178 off 133 balls, Steve Smith scored 95 while Glenn Maxwell struck 88 in 39 deliveries in the Pool A encounter in Perth.

Afghanistan were then dismissed for 142, with Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc taking six wickets between them.

Australia’s score surpassed the 413-5 India made against Bermuda in 2007.

It continues the pattern of bat dominating ball in this tournament as the third 400 plus score achieved in the pool stages, following South Africa’s 408-5 and 411-4 against West Indies and Ireland respectively.

The winning margin beats the 257-run amount by which India beat Bermuda in Port of Spain in 2007, which was equalled five days ago by South Africa in their victory over West Indies in Sydney.

Australia’s total is their second-highest score in a one-day international, after their 434-4 against South Africa in 2006.

The ODI record score remains the 443-9 made by Sri Lanka against Netherlands in 2006.

Afghanistan elected to bowl having won the toss, and removed opener Aaron Finch in the third over, but they were dominated thereafter.

Warner played the aggressor, ably assisted by the more conservative Smith, with the pair adding 260 – a record Australian partnership for any wicket in ODIs – before the former was caught at mid-on by Mohammad Nabi off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran in the 38th over, just seven runs short of Shane Watson’s record Australian ODI score of 185.

If Afghanistan thought this would bring them some respite they were wrong as Maxwell took over, hitting six fours and seven sixes in a brutal 39-ball innings, during which he scored 88, as Smith increased his own scoring rate to reach 95 before driving one straight to Najibullah Zadran off Shapoor with seven overs remaining.

Despite the fall of three further wickets, returning captain Michael Clarke did not come out to bat, allowing James Faulkner (7), Mitchell Marsh (8) and Brad Haddin (20 not out) to help Australia to their record total.

As expected, Afghanistan were unable to cope with the Australian bowling attack, with their top order removed before they could reach three figures.

Johnson played a major role, having Usman Ghani, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai and Hamid Hassan all caught and Josh Hazlewood picked up two wickets, while Clarke unexpectedly got in on the act with a five-over spell of off-spin, during which he had Samiullah Shenwari caught by Johnson at short fine leg.

Starc – who almost salvaged a win against New Zealand in a dramatic encounter in Auckland four days ago – came to the fore later in the innings with two wickets to help seal the record win.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup 2015: Pakistan cruise past UAE in Napier

Pakistan kept up their push for a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a routine 129-run victory over the United Arab Emirates in Napier.

World Cup Pool B, Napier:
Pakistan 339-6 (50 overs): Shehzad 93, Haris 70, Guruge 4-56
UAE 210-8 (50 overs): Anwar 62, Khurram 43
Pakistan won by 129 runs

Ahmed Shehzad hit 93 and both Haris Sohail (70) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (65) weighed in with half-centuries as Pakistan ran up 339-6.

UAE were reduced to 25-3 early in their reply and though in-form Shaiman Anwar made 62, they fell well short on 210-8.

Pakistan join Ireland and West Indies on four points in a congested Pool B.

Ireland meet Pakistan on 15 March, the final day of the group stage, in a match that is looking increasingly likely to decide qualification for the last eight.

For Pakistan, a second win in four days represents a build of momentum after heavy defeats by India and West Indies in their opening two matches.

The 1992 champions will almost certainly earn a place in the next round if they win their final two games against South Africa and the Irish.

“That was a much needed win for us,” said Misbah.

“We won by a margin so we can relax now, the next game is really important and we need to focus on that. We have a good net run rate now also.”

Pakistan were rarely troubled in this comfortable win against a UAE side who did not disgrace themselves, particularly by sticking to their task with the ball on a good wicket with one very short square boundary.

Indeed, the Associate side will rue two missed opportunities off Shehzad, the opener put down on two and nine.

Reprieved, he compiled a 160-run stand with Haris, missing out on a century when his dive to complete a second run was not enough to prevent a run-out.

With Haris then caught at mid-on off Mohammad Naveed, Pakistan were in danger of wasting a good platform, but Misbah steadied with Sohaib Maqsood (45).

When the time came, they opened their shoulders, beginning a blitz that would see 124 runs added in the final 10 overs. In that time, Shahid Afridi’s 21 from seven balls made him only the second man, after Sanath Jayasuriya, to score 8,000 runs and take 300 wickets in one-day internationals.

If they were to pull off an unlikely chase and a great World Cup shock, the UAE needed a solid start with the bat, but their top order could not handle the Pakistan pacemen.

Rahat Ali bowled Amjad Ali before Sohail Khan had both Andri Berenger and Krishna Karate caught behind to effectively end the contest.

Anwar and Khurram Khan shared a defiant partnership of 83 until Khurram flicked Maqsood to square leg for 43.

The match meandered to its inevitable conclusion, but for Anwar, an innings that ended when caught at long-off off Afridi took him to a total of 270 runs, the highest of the tournament so far.

UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir said of Anwar: “He’s a brilliant batsman and I’m very happy for him. He’s such a confident individual that we call him ‘Sir Viv’.

“He missed out on a hundred, but if he’d stayed to the end of the innings he would have got it. It was an excellent performance.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan to avoid shock

Mahela Jayawardene hit his 19th one-day international century to help Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by four wickets and avoid a major World Cup upset.

World Cup Pool A, University Oval, Dunedin:
Afghanistan 232 (49.4 overs): Stanikzai 54, Malinga 3-41, Mathews 3-41
Sri Lanka 236-6 (48.2overs): Jayawardene 100, Hassan 3-45
Sri Lanka won by four wickets

Tournament debutants Afghanistan sensed a shock after reducing Sri Lanka to 2-2 and then 18-3 in Pool A in Dunedin.

But Jayawardene (100) put on 126 with captain Angelo Mathews (44) and although both departed, Sri Lanka held on to win with 10 balls left.

Asghar Stanikzai with 54 was the top scorer in Afghanistan’s 232 all out.

The win was Sri Lanka’s first of the tournament following their heavy defeat by New Zealand in the opening match, while Afghanistan remain without a point but above England and Scotland – who meet on Monday – on run rate.

“We really need to raise our standards to compete against the top teams,” said Mathews, whose side face Bangladesh on Thursday, with further group fixtures to come against Australia, England and Scotland.

“I am feeling relieved at the moment but I thought we came back well. It was a see-saw kind of game. They started off well and then we pulled it back in the end. I knew I had to stay out there with Mahela to get some kind of stand going.”

The 1996 champions made a terrible start to their run chase at the University Oval, losing both openers to first-ball ducks.

Dawlat Zadran trapped Lahiru Thirimanne leg before wicket off the first ball of the Sri Lanka reply and fellow pace bowler Shapoor Zadran had Tillakaratne Dilshan caught behind to leave the Test-playing side in a state of shock.

Hamid Hassan then bowled veteran Kumar Sangakkara for seven, leaving Sri Lanka 18-3, and celebrated with a cartwheel and an exuberant wave to the crowd.

Hassan saw off Dimuth Karunaratne for 23, and that brought the experienced pair of Jayawardene and Mathews together with the score 51-4 after 12 overs.

Jayawardene played with the calmness and authority you would expect from a man playing his 443rd one-day international.

The pair looked like they would complete victory on their own but Mathews was run out in the 41st over attempting a quick single.

Jayawardene brought up his fourth World Cup century two balls later but Hassan revived Afghanistan’s hopes by dismissing the 37-year-old just three balls later.

However, Thisara Perera, with an aggressive 47 not out from 26 balls, and Jeevan Mendis (nine not out) came together in a stand of 58 to finish off the job.

The Afghanistan innings, which ended with two balls remaining in the final over, was built around an 88-run third-wicket partnership between Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari (38).

It was not until Stanikzai was dismissed by Rangana Herath with Afghanistan 128-3 in the 28th over, that Sri Lanka started to get a grip on the game.

That marked the start of a collapse that saw Afghanistan lose four wickets for 47 runs in 11 overs, with Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and Mathews both finishing with 3-41.

It was Afghanistan’s fifth-highest score against a Test-playing nation but their total could have been higher but for poor shot selection.

Captain Mohammad Nabi admitted his team’s total was always going to be hard to defend.

“I felt we were short by 30-40 runs. We bowled really well in the first 10-15 overs, and we put pressure on them in the end. We kept them to a tight game, so we are pleased by that,” said Nabi, whose team next play Scotland in Dunedin on Thursday.

Read more at BBC Sport