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Afghanistan V England: Cricket World Cup – Live

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12th over: Afghanistan 93-0 (Gurbaz 59, Ibrahim 23) Yup, here’s Wood, the quickest bowler in the competition … and whose third ball is absolutely … tickled? over wide third for six! He waited for that because it was wide and he knew it’d sit up, but it takes serious precision to fondle its undercarriage like that. A single follows, and this is some knock. Go on lad!

11th over: Afghanistan 86-0 (Gurbaz 53, Ibrahim 23) Powerplay over, Afghanistan having dominated it, we move into the second phase of the match with Adil Rashid on to bowl. He’s a genuine great of English cricket – we should enjoy him while we still can, though I still think he could’ve done more in Tests – but have a look! Gurbaz sweeps his second ball for four, and he’s batting beautifully! A World Cup 50 at 21-years-old, and there’s a big score out there for him is he just keeps doing what he’s doing: victimising anything not on the button.

10th over: Afghanistan 75-0 (Gurbaz 46, Ibrahim 22) The track is flatter than Ian Brown’s voice, but if given something at which to bowl, perhaps Afghanistan’s spinners will be harder to get away. England could really use a wicket or at least a quieter over, and Topley cedes a single, a leg bye and a two; they’ll take that, but I daresay Mark Wood will soon have ball in hand.

9th over: Afghanistan 75-0 (Gurbaz 46, Ibrahim 19) Ibrahim knocks one to midwicket, then the umpires review a suspected no ball and Curran had indeed overstepped; he escapes the free hit with a single. Or does he! OR DOES HE! Gurbaz creeeeams four through the covers, then one swings unexpectedly and he turns it away to the fine-leg fence … and then, when Curran drags back his length, he monsters him into the stands at midwicket! That’s 14 off the last three balls! Two more to cover follow, 20 off the over, and Afghanistan are absolutely loving this. Aren’t we all!

“Regarding the oddly shaped Gautam Gambhir stand,” tweets Yogi, “there’s a very interesting story of how it ended up with the shape that it has got.”

Don’t leave us hanging, but for what it’s worth, I really like it – sports grounds need to be distinctive, with character, and that gives it plenty.

The Gautam Gambhir stand. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters8th over: Afghanistan 51-0 (Gurbaz 29, Ibrahim 17) One more for Topley and Gurbaz gets into a beautiful position as the first delivery slides across him, waiting for it to almost go past before easing to the point fence. “That cut was so late it was almost posthumous,” as John Arlott once said. What Afghanistan have done well is find early-over boundaries, putting England under pressure, but Topley responds well here, sending five dots. Ah, and there’s Ben Stokes, beard looking thick and comb-back looking thicker, fashion shades in situ too. A hi-vis vest tops the look.

7th over: Afghanistan 51-0 (Gurbaz 25, Ibrahim 17) It’s coming on nicely out there! Ibrahim steps forward, turning Curran’s loosener into a half volley and stroking four through cover! Two singles follow while, in co-comms, Shaun Pollock asks for a short one. It’s not forthcoming, but this is boiling nicely.

Afghanistan’s Ibrahim Zadran reacts after playing a shot. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images6th over: Afghanistan 45-0 (Gurbaz 24, Ibrahim 12) Oh yes! Topley offers Ibrahim a little width and he goes with soft hands, guiding four through deep point. Afghanistan are going nicely here and a wide and single follow … then when one arrives short, wide and pleading to be hit, Gurbaz hurls hands and smokes past Root’s dive at point! Another 10 off that over so, as we all would if we needed something to happen, Buttler turns to Sam Curran.

5th over: Afghanistan 35-0 (Gurbaz 20, Ibrahim 7) Oh Chris. Oh mate. Woakes runs in, Gurbaz moonwalks away, Woakes tries a cutter … and Gurbaz unloads the suitcase at one that races to the cover fence for four! And when the next ball also arrives overpitched, a deft carve sends it through point for four more! You don’t say this often, but Chris Woakes is taking a pasting! Two singles, 10 off the over, and 31 off three!

Afghanistan’s Ibrahim Zardan runs between the wickets as England’s Chris Woakes watches on. Photograph: Manish Swarup/AP4th over: Afghanistan 25-0 (Gurbaz 11, Ibrahim 6) Even when not bang at it, Topley’s tricky to get away, and the batters can only manage three shoved singles, a leg-side wide making it four from the over. Against more dangerous opponents, I daresay Buttler would be thinking about replacing Woakes, but my sense is he wants overs in his legs and that he bowls his way into rhythm.

“A pretty hot day today but I’m in trousers and a jumper,” writes Simon Burnton, our man in Delhi, “because the press box air conditioning is wildly excessive. I’m looking over to the bewilderingly wonky Gautam Gambhir Stand – I fear I might spend quite a lot of the game wondering what on earth the architects were taking.”

Perhaps it’s reflective of his batting in England (average 12.70, HS 38)! Oh it’s the way we tell them!

3rd over: Afghanistan 21-0 (Gurbaz 9, Ibrahim 5) Gurbaz jinks down and slices Woakes over cover … and safe. Then, next ball when woakes drops a little shorter, he waits, bends knees … and marmalises six over midwicket! He absolutely tumped that! Ach, and when Buttler again fails to collect a wide, the total grows by two, then Ibrahim cuts to point where Bairstow dives but misses the ball! Four more and 14 off the over; Woakes is under a bit of pressure here, 0-21 off two.

Gurbaz jinks down and slices. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images2nd over: Afghanistan 7-0 (Gurbaz 1, Ibrahim 1) Topley has a proper fast bowler’s barnet, doesn’t he? I’d like it a little bit shorter at the sides and longer at the back, so we get that flowing effect, but it’s still good and so is the maiden he sends down to begin with.

“Heating’s been on for a week here in Norway,” says Brendan Large, “but I dare say it’s little chillier. Anyway what has David Willey done wrong to not get a go … is it just that he’s another lefty?”

My guess is he’s viewed as a steady option who won’t let them down, when the alternatives are a little more able to force issues. At some point I need to experience proper cold – I’d love a bit of Rosenborg away following my football team – though I daresay that as soon s I was in it, I’d want to be out of it.

England’s Reece Topley. Photograph: Manish Swarup/AP1st over: Afghanistan 7-0 (Gurbaz 1, Ibrahim 1) Dearie me, Woakes runs in, aborts, chucks a wide down the leg side … and then Buttler gets there but misses his catch! Five off the first ball, then a slash for one from the third and a squirt to deep backward point from the fifth. Afghanistan will take that.

Afghanistan’s Ibrahim Zardan and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Photograph: Manish Swarup/APWoakes, who’ll be looking for an improvement from himself, has the new globule.

It looks hotter in Delhi than in London. No need for the heating on there.

Anthem time…

England and Afghanistan players line up during the national anthems before the match. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/ReutersHere come the teams…

What do we think about Reece Topley? Even on the slower tracks, I’d guess his pace will be more useful than Moeen’s spin, but looking at the England XI, is there a way we can get Stokes in without binning Brook? Liam Livingstone would be the man at risk, but it’d mean Woakes, Curran, Rashid, Wood and Topley bowling through, and if any went or got injured, you’d have a problem.

“Jonathan Trott, Afghanistan coach, great mate of mine,” oozes Nick Knight over live footage from the ground, resplendent in zip-up tank-top affair. Sadly there is no chyron to that effect.

Email! “Surely on the heating front,” says Tony Cunningham, “by the time your wife gets back from the pool it’ll be several degrees warmer anyway (and warmer than the pool) so you can pretend the heating has been on and she’ll never know … unless she reads what you write for The Guardian.”

This had occurred to me – and she’ll also be coming out of a car so hot it should be illegal. There is much more chance this ruse succeeds than there is she reads these words.

“He wants to prove to people how good he is and he certainly is that good,” says Zak Crawley of Dawid Malan – a statement that is philosophically unimpeachable.

Athers notes England have done well to meet Afghanistan in Delhi and Bangladesh in Dharamsala, where it doesn’t really turn. He also reckons that, had this been a match against one of the better sides, Ben Stokes would’ve played and will be good to go against South Africa on Saturday.

TeamsAfghanistan: Gurbaz, Zadran I, Shah, Shahidi (c), Nabi, Alikhil (wk), Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Ur Rahman, Ul-Haq, Farooqi.

England: Bairstow, Malan, Root, Buttler (c, wk), Brook, Livingstone, Woakes, Curran, Rashid, Wood, Topley.

Hashmatulla would’ve fielded too but now the aim is to score as many as possible, above 300 if possible – put England under pressure – then hope there’s turn for his quality spinners. Njibullah drops out, with Ikram Alikhil coming in and keeping; Zadran I is now just an oepener.

England win the toss and will field!“No particular reason, it looks a really good wicket and we’d like to chase,” says Buttler, adding that his team are unchanged. India have played well chasing in Delhi, SA scored big too, and he wants to see England’s improvement continue.

Jos Buttler of England flips the coin as Hashmatullah Shahidi of Afghanistan looks on. Photograph: Darrian Traynor-ICC/ICC/Getty ImagesThere’s very little I love more than waking up to sport, working-day sport also being up there.

My wife’s taken our nipper swimming and advised me that, while they’re gone, the heating needs putting on. Problem being, I’m not sure I’ve got that in me so help me out: 15 October is too early for such behaviour, right?

Ben Stokes has ambled out to join his team mates in the warm-up but doesn’t look like a man who is about to play a World Cup match. Expecting England to be unchanged

— Matt Roller (@mroller98) October 15, 2023 PreambleGenerally speaking, the side that plays best in the early stages is rarely the side dancing about at the final’s final whistle – a maxim applicable across all World Cups and in all sports. Too soon! Too soon! I promise, I planned to begin like that before that.

England, though, won’t have been too agitated after losing their opening game. The holders know they know how to win and after thrashing Bangladesh they’re trucking, having once again balanced the side by dropping Moeen Ali. Perhaps.

It may be that – on the subcontinent – England end up wanting another spin option but – as they say on the subcontinent – “pace is pace”, and Reece Topley has it. Alongside which, if Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Mark Wood can’t get you enough runs – have there ever been deeper batting line-ups than that? – then maybe you have to accept it’s just not your day. Or restore Ben Stokes to the side, definitely one of the two.

We jest. Because though one-day cricket isn’t as capricious as T20, nor as easily commandeered by one player with one performance, when so many sides have so much firepower, it’s impossible to know which of them will win a one-off match. So, though it may seem unlikely Afghanistan have enough to trouble England, you never know – and even if they don’t, they’ve more than enough to make it interesting.

Play: 2pm local, 9.30am BST

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