World T20: England a step closer to the semi-finals after bowlers dig them out of Afghanistan hole

The victory over Afghanistan moves England within touching distance of qualifying for the semi-finals before their final game against Sri Lanka.

World T20: England a step closer to the semi-finals after bowlers dig them out of Afghanistan hole
Rashid celebrates a wicket (photo: Getty Images)

England's batsmen have their lower order players to thank after recovering from a potentially shocking defeat to Afghanistan, squeezing out a 15 run victory.

England's batters collapse after a solid start

Jason Roy did not hang around long for England as Amir Hamza bowled him for just five runs, but James Vince looked comfortable at the other end as England looked to set another big total. The opener, who replaced Alex Hales was regularly finding the boundary, building a 30 run partnership with Joe Root as England found themselves on 42-1 after just five overs of play. 

Yet Afghanistan have proved they are no walkover in this tournament and they put themselves right back into the match with three wickets in four balls. The dangerous Vince was caught and bowled by Mohammad Nabi for 22, before the same man bowled Eoin Morgan for a duck. Joe Root was then run out for 12 by Rashid Khan as England slipped to 42-4. 

Jos Buttler then found himself walking back before he could settle into the game, dismissed for just six as Nabi took an excellent catch off the bowling of Sami Shenwari. Ben Stokes soon departed for just one more run than his wicketkeeper, falling into the stumps as he was bowled by Khan. England were now dwindling on 57-6. 

Chris Jordan offered some reprieve for England as himself and Moeen Ali began to build a partnership, only for Jordan to be softly caught and bowled by Khan as the seventh wicket fell for 85. Luckily for England their batting line-up runs deep, as Moeen and David Willey began to dig them out of a hole. A fantastically timed partnership of 57, including 25 off the penultimate over, helped England to a more respectable and defendable total of 142. 

Ben Stokes collapses to the floor after getting out (photo: Getty Images)
Ben Stokes collapses to the floor after getting out (photo: Getty Images)

England's bowlers strike back

The pressure was on the England bowling attack to keep their World Cup dreams alive and avoid the embarrassment of losing to Afghanistan. David Willey soon calmed the nerves as he dismissed the dangerous Mohammad Shahzad for just four in the opening over.

Chris Jordan then saw off captain Asghar Stanikzai in the next over as he edged a Chris Jordan delivery to Joe Root at slip. Mohammad Naib was then dismissed in the following over to Willey, as Afghanistan lost three wickets in as many overs as they struggled on 13-3.

Opener Noor Ali hung around with the middle order for a brief period, but Afghanistan were never able to forge a decent partnership as wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals. Adil Rashid took two wickets, whilst Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes chipped in with one each. A combination of suicidal running and good England fielding saw two run outs as Afghanistan capitulated to 108-9. 

Shafiq Shafiqullah did offer Afghanistan a glimmer of hope with a decent 35 not out, but none of his teammates were able to stay with him as the underdogs eventually fell 15 runs short. Eoin Morgan and his team can breathe a huge sigh of relief as they continue their progress in the tournament, though they will have to improve in their final game against Sri Lanka.