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ICC World Cup 2023 marks first upset as Afghanistan stun holders England

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NEW DELHI: Afghanistan registered a historic victory as they stunningly defeated defending champions England by 69 runs in the 13th match of the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023 on Sunday.

Set to chase 285, holders England could score 215 in response before being bundled out in the 41st over to hand Afghanistan the biggest victory in their World Cup history.

England got off to a dismal start to the run chase as they lost Jonny Bairstow (2) in the second over with just three runs on the board.

The reigning champions continued to sink into trouble as they lost wickets at regular intervals with their key batters Joe Root (11), Dawid Malan (32), Jos Buttler (9) and Liam Livingstone (10) perishing with modest contributions.

With half of their batters returned to the dugout, England’s hopes were tied on Harry Brook, who waged a lone battle for his side with a gutsy half-century.

His resilience, however, came to an end in the 35th over when Mujeeb got him caught behind and England slipped to 169/8.

Brook remained the top-scorer for England with a 61-ball 66, laced up with seven boundaries and a six.

Late contributions from Adil Rashid (20), Reece Topley (15), and Mark Wood (18) only helped England surpass the 200-run mark.

Star Afghan spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan led the bowling charge for their side by picking up three wickets each while Mohammad Nabi bagged two.

Pacers Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi had a wicket apiece to their names.

After being put to bat, Afghanistan got off to a flying start with a 114-run opening stand, dominated by Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

Ibrahim Zadran contributed a mere 28 runs to the total before falling prey to Adil Rashid, who then sent Rahmat Shah back to the pavilion in the next over.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz who was playing at 80, was then ran out on the next ball, reducing Afghanistan to 122-3.

Gurbaz took only 57 balls to score 80, with the help of eight boundaries and four sixes.

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England bowlers capitalized and kept things really tight to incite Afghanistan batters to make mistakes, resulting in them collapsing to 190-6 in the 37th over.

Ikram Alikhil and Rashid Khan (23) then joined hands to knit a 43-run stand to help Afghanistan recover, but Adil Rashid struck again to break the partnership.

Alikhil anchored through the innings and played a gutsy knock of 58 runs from 66 deliveries, while Mujeeb Ur Rahman played a brisk 28-run cameo to push Afghanistan’s total to 277.

However, England bowlers picked back-to-back wickets and gave away only seven more runs for the last wicket to book Afghanistan to 284.

Adil Rashid led the bowling attack with three wickets, while Mark Wood picked up two wickets.

READ: Dasun Shanaka replaced by Chamika Karunaratne in ICC World Cup 2023 squad

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