Colombo, Sep 21: Defending champions England crushed Afghanistan by 116 runs in their Group A match of the ICC World Twenty20 2012 here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Friday night. Luke Wright was the star of the match. With this England and India have made it to Super Eight stage while winless Afghanistan go home.
Afghanistan were never in the contest once they started the chase of 197. They were in danger being bowled out for less than 30 as they were tottering at 26/8 in nine overs. However, a 32-ball 44 by Gulbodin Naib avoided that humiliation. He was the only Afghan batsman to get into double figures. Finally, Afghanistan were bundled out for 80 in 17.2 overs.
Afghanistan's first seven batsmen's scores read like this 1, 8, 0, 5, 4, 1 and 2. No. 4 Naib made 44 while the rest three contributed 0, 9 and 0. Jade Dernbach, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Samit Patel had two wickets apiece.
Luke Wright's blistering 55-ball 99 not out powered England to 196/5 in 20 overs against Afghanistan
Wright, batting at number three, smashed eight fours and five sixes to register England's best World T20 individual score. This was also joint best for England in T20 Internationals. Alex Hales too had made 99 in a T20I.
Yet again, Afghanistan were guilty of dropping catches. After the early loss of Craig Kieswetter for zero, Wright, Hales, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow took charge to punish Afghan bowlers.
The 19th over of the innings was the most expensive where 32 runs came. It was bowled by Izatullah Dawlatzai. Wright hit three successive sixes in the over. Wright had a chance to reach to his maiden T20I century when he faced the final ball of the innings needing three runs but managed only two.
It was an exceptional batting display by Wright and Afghanistan are likely to find it difficult to scale down 197.
Earlier, England were invited to bat first by Afghanistan.
This is a must-win game for Afghanistan. If they lose today, they will be eliminated. Defending champions England are playing their first game in the tournament.
Afghanistan put up a spirited show against India before going down by 23 runs on Wednesday night.
England: Stuart Broad (captain), Jonathan Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter (wicketkeeper), Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.
Afghanistan: Nawroz Mangal (captain), Dawlat Zadran, Gulbodin Naib, Izzatullah Dawlatzai, Karim Sadeq, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Shapoor Zadran.
Umpires: Simon Taufel (Australia) and Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Third umpire: Asad Rauf (Pakistan)
Fourth umpire: Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)