England bowler Sam Curran is congratulated by teammates during the T20 World Cup cricket match between England and Afghanistan in Perth, Australia. England won by 5 wickets. Image Credit: AP

Match summary: Livingstone, Curran star in England victory

Liam Livingstone (29 not out off 21 balls) steered England to a five-wicket victory after left-arm pacer Sam Curran claimed 5/10 to restrict Afghanistan to 112 in a Group 1 game of the T20 World Cup at the Perth Stadium.

England never looked comfortable, although they were chasing a modest target. If the Afghan seamers had bowled a better line and if the fielders had pouched all the catches, England would have been in trouble as they found the going tough against the spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeen ur Rehman and Mohammad Nabi.

After losing captain Jos Buttler (18), Alex Hales (19), Ben Stokes and Dawid Malan (18), Livingstone took charge to guide England home with 11 balls to spare.

Asked to bat first, Afghanistan struggled against the steady English bowling, backed by some excellent fielding with Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid and Buttler bringing off excellent catches. Ibrahim Zadran (32 off 32) was the best of the Afghan batters, and in the end five wickets fell in 12 balls for three runs.

England win by five wickets

Liam Livingstone (29 off 21 balls) and Moeen Ali steered England to a five-wicket win over Afghanistan, chasing 113 for victory. The chase wasn’t easy against the Afghan spin pack, but dropped catches didn’t help the Afghan cause.

England edge closer to the target

England's batters struggled against the Afghan spinners but reached 95/4 at the end of 15 overs. Along the way, they lost Dawid Malan to a stunning catch by Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi at short midwicket. Malan’s 18 off 30 balls had steadied England after the departure of captain Jos Buttler, Alex Hales and Ben Stokes. If Afghanistan had scored around 140 and held on to the catches, England would have been in trouble.

England slow but steady

It hasn’t been a walk in the park for England, who reached 62/2 at the end of 10 overs. Their chase of Afghanistan’s 112 has been hard graft. If the Afghan pacers had been more consistent in their line, and if the fielders had clung onto the catches, they could have had England on the hop. Opener Alex Hales was dropped twice before Fazalhaq Farooqi pouched him. Fazal earlier accounted for captain Jos Buttler.

England lose Buttler in the chase

England made a steady start in pursuit of Afghanistan’s total of 112. At the end of the powerplay (6 overs), England had scored 40 for the loss of skipper Jos Buttler. The Afghan pacers were a bit wayward to pose problems despite the swing offered by the conditions. Qais Ahmed put down one stiff chance offered by Alex Hales, but pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi dismissed Butler in the same over. England should coast to victory without much alarm.

Midway summary: England take command as Curran scalps five

England left-arm pacer Sam Curran claimed 5/10 as Afghanistan crashed to 112 all out in 19.4 overs in a Group 1 game of the T20 World Cup at the Perth Stadium.

Asked to bat first, Afghanistan never got going against the steady English bowling, with Mark Woods’ deliveries consistently clocking over 145 kph. The English fielding too was superb, with Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid and skipper Jos Buttler bringing off excellent catchjes.

Ibrahim Zadran (32 off 32 balls) was the best of the Afghan batters, who at no stage looked like taking control of the match. Five of their wickets fell in 12 balls for three runs. A score of 112 is not enough to challenge the English batters.

Sam Curran bags five as Afghanistan finish at 112

England left-arm seamer Sam Curran grabbed five wickets as Afghanistan slumped to 112 all out in 19.4 overs. With the top-order batters struggling to score, the rest had to throw their bats around in the slog overs. That’s when wickets fell in a heap against some tight English bowling.

England bowlers keep Afghan batters quiet

Afghanistan batters can’t seem to get going in the face of some tight bowling and excellent fielding from England. The Afghans are 89/4 at the end of 15 overs. They need to accelerate in the next 5 overs if they have to set a challenging target. But that may not happen given the batters inability to shake off the shackles imposed by the bowlers.

Afghan batters struggle to step up scoring

A disappointing effort from the Afghan batters, who haven’t been able to step up the scoring, and they finish 10 overs with 55/2 on the board. The session's highlight has been a brilliant running catch from Liam Livingstone to get rid of Hazratullah Zazai. England bowlers continued to keep the batters on a tight leash, and wickets could come in clumps when the Afghans chase quick runs.

England bowlers in control

The English pacers have kept the batters quiet, and Afghanistan are 35/1 at the end of the powerplay (6 overs). Although only Rahmanullah Gurbaz was dismissed (by Mark Wood), Afghanistan never looked like taking the fight to the English bowlers. Woakes and Stokes found some movement, while Woods fiery pace kept the Afghan batters on the back foot. Afghanistan need to push the scoring a bit since they have wickets in hand.

Stokes with the new ball for England

The English team, led by Jos Buttler, are in the middle. Afghan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai stride out to join them. Ben Stokes with the new ball, and H. Zazai takes strike.

England win the toss, will bowl first

The teams

England: Jos Buttler (captain & wicketkeeper), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Mark Wood

Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicketkeeper), Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (captain), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fareed Ahmed and Fazalhaq Farooqi

England should quell Afghan challenge easily

Shyam A. Krishna, Senior Associate Editor

England are favourites to beat Afghanistan in the Super 12 Group 1 game in Perth on Saturday (October 22). That’s not without reason. They are one of the strongest sides in the T20 World Cup. Despite losing stalwarts like Jonny Bairstow and Reece Topley to injuries and Jason Roy’s poor form, Jos Buttler’s team pack too much quality to envisage an Afghan upset.

Afghanistan have the best leggie in Rashid Khan, and he, along with mystery spinner Mujib ur Rahman and offie and skipper Mohammad Nabi, forms part of the Afghan spin riddle. Young Fazalhaq Farooqi offers speed and swing. Barring a middle-over slump, England should have no problems walking away winners with their bowlers scything through the brittle Afghan batting.