Afghanistan win against England at the Physical Disability World Series
Big-hitting Afghanistan outmuscled England to book a Physical Disability World Series semi-final berth with an impressive seven-wicket victory at Old Elizabethans CC.
An initially watchful opening stand of 70 between Karimi and Mandozai gave way to some dismissive treatment of England’s attack as the visitors breezed to their 159 target in clinical style.
England’s total had looked par on a decent track with shortish boundaries – especially given the treatment dished out by Afghanistan’s batters in victories over Bangladesh and Pakistan – and so it proved as the visitors made it three wins out of three with 25 balls to spare.
After winning the toss and batting, England’s openers Angus Brown and Liam Thomas posted a 52-run stand, which ended when Thomas was bowled by Ibrahimi for 28 halfway through the eighth over.
Brown followed shortly after for 26, caught behind off Langari – in the wickets again after four the previous day against Pakistan.
Callum Flynn once again proved England’s leading light with the bat, essaying a pair of beautiful drives early on – but his 28-ball top-score of 32 was indicative of the hosts’ difficulty in increasing the tempo.
Though boundaries came, so did regular wickets and some tight bowling from Mohsen – who removed Flynn, Liam O’Brien and Jamie Goodwin in a spell of three for 13 – kept England honest to the last.
Afghanistan played a patient, waiting game at the outset of their innings, just 24 coming from the first four overs, but Danny Hamm, instrumental in victory over Pakistan, saw his first over go for 22, with Karimi (39 from 26 balls) carting him for three sixes.
With the pressure valve released, Afghanistan relaxed, and though England revolved their resources, using seven bowlers all told and fielded gamely to the last, the results proved increasingly similar.
A wide brought the scores level, before number three Mandozai, who hit a brutal 29-ball 56, cleared the ropes to take Afghanistan home with his fifth and his side’s 10th six of the innings.
England, who face Bangladesh at Bromsgrove on Friday, will aim to get back on track for a last-four spot against a side beaten earlier by India.
Coach Ian Salisbury was left to reflect on what might have been.
“If two people had kept going with the bat, we might have reached 170-180 – who knows whether that might have been enough,” he said.
“When we executed our bowling plans to the batters it worked, but we just didn’t get our execution, or stay brave enough to stay with our plans. But fair play to Afghanistan – they hit the ball pretty clean. I hope we get to play them again.”
Skipper Iain Nairn added: “We got off to a great start bowling to the plan. In the heat of the battle you almost feel like, ‘Where have they taken that from?’
“It’s a very different style of cricket to what we see week in week out in England, but we had a plan, but we failed to deliver it. We didn’t get the partnerships we needed, and every time we built some dots we gave them a boundary.”