12.12pm EDT 12:12 37th over: Afghanistan 185-3 (Hashmatullah 56, Asghar 39) After a tough few weeks, Afghanistan’s batsmen are finally having a day out. I can’t see any of it, as the Sky picture is down, but it sounds like fun. 12.06pm EDT 12:06 34th over: Afghanistan 160-3 (Hashmatullah 39, Asghar 26) Jonny Bairstow has
37th over: Afghanistan 185-3 (Hashmatullah 56, Asghar 39) After a tough few weeks, Afghanistan’s batsmen are finally having a day out. I can’t see any of it, as the Sky picture is down, but it sounds like fun.
34th over: Afghanistan 160-3 (Hashmatullah 39, Asghar 26) Jonny Bairstow has dropped his second catch of the innings. Asghar top-edged a hook off the new bowler Archer towards fine leg, where Bairstow ran in and put down a fairly straightforward chance. A fairly straightforward chance for him, that is; you and I would barely have laid an eye on it, never mind a finger.
36th over: Afghanistan 180-3 (Hashmatullah 56, Asghar 34) Technical problems ahoy!
35th over: Afghanistan 172-3 (Hashmatullah 52, Asghar 31) Asghar survives a precautionary stumping referral after missing a sweep off Rashid. After a good start this is turning into another trying day for Rashid, who has figures of 6-0-43-1. Hashmatullah slaps his last ball for four to make it 12 from the over – and, more importantly, complete a stylish and intrepid half-century.
33rd over: Afghanistan 153-3 (Hashmatullah 45, Asghar 22) For the second time in his innings, Asghar drives Rashid sweetly to cow corner for six. I was worried Afghanistan might crumble in double figures but this is lovely stuff; they are making a minor triumph out of a certain defeat. Off the last ball of the over, Hashmatullah drives a majestic six over long off. That’s the 31st six of this match, equalling the World Cup record.
“That Rothmans Cup scorecard made me chuckle,” says Matt Salkeld. “I particularly enjoyed doing a double-take at M. Bennett’s innings, which I think is the lesser-spotted diamond duck; run out without facing a ball. I inflicted a couple of those on unsuspecting teammates in my junior cricket days. So bad was my running, I once barbecued five of my own team in one memorable innings. Would love to hear from any of my victims…”
I’m sure the feeling’s mut- oh.
32nd over: Afghanistan 140-3 (Hashmatullah 39, Asghar 15) Hasmatullah jumps across his crease to ping a short ball from Wood to the fine-leg boundary. Wood continues to bang it in, despite that nasty blow in his previous over. I’m not sure what’s up with him today but he’s bowling like Sylvester Clarke. Has somebody killed his imaginary horse or something?
Wood’s penultimate delivery is yet another short one, and this time Hashmatullah makes room to swat it down the ground for six! Marvellous stuff. Afghanistan have a lot to learn, that’s for sure, but they bow to nobody in the moxie department.
31st over: Afghanistan 126-3 (Hashmatullah 26, Asghar 14) A quiet over from Rashid, although he is bowling with a bit more confidence – and loop – than in previous matches.
30th over: Afghanistan 125-3 (Hashmatullah 25, Asghar 14) Hashmatullah is continuing, so he must have passed the concussion test. His first ball from Wood is another short one, this time at the ribs, and he fends it away for a single. Wood looks in an unusually misanthropic mood today.
29.5 overs: Afghanistan 124-3 (Hashmatullah 24, Asghar 14) Asghar gets in a tangle with another nasty short ball from Wood, taking his eye off the ball at the last moment. Happily for him, it hits high on the bat and plops at his feet. This has been another eye-catching performance from Wood – and two balls later he hits Hashmatullah on the side of the helmet with a vicious short ball. That was a horrible blow and there will be a break in play while Hashmatullah receives treatment and takes a concussion test. He’s on his feet and seems to be okay, although he may have to retire hurt.
29th over: Afghanistan 122-3 (Hashmatullah 23, Asghar 13) Asghar, on the charge, drives Rashid over midwicket for a huge six, and puts a cherry atop his home-made cake with a boundary to fine leg.
“I understand that people are disgruntled about the round-robin format, but I have to say I’m a fan of it,” says Lewis. “Yes, it’s likely that the four ‘best’ teams will end up at the top and any doubt about that depends on how many times they slip up (as England did, for example). However, surely the central point of a competition is to find out who is the best team, not to randomly nominate a champion based on chance? Increasing the number of ‘league’ games reduces the likelihood that a top team unfairly goes out because a couple of their games were rained off, or from a single upset result. And if you’re going to invite a certain number of lower-achieving teams to participate in a global festival of the game, surely you want those teams to a) spend as much time in the tournament as possible, and b) play as many teams as possible, in order to maximise engagement and also the development of those teams’ players. Having the largest possible group stage achieves these aims.”
I take your points, but you can’t have 10-15 lifeless games in a World Cup. I liked this system and thought it would work, but it hasn’t and I doubt we’ll see it again. I’ve never really liked IPL-style eliminators – I want a symmetrical wallchart, dammit – but cricket may need to do something like that. Tim Wigmore, the geek I always wanted to be, has a good idea here.
28th over: Afghanistan 109-3 (Hashmatullah 22, Asghar 2) An unpleasant lifter from Wood rams into Asghar’s bottom hand. Asghar responds in the best possible manner – he gets the hell out of town by taking a single off the next ball.
27th over: Afghanistan 108-3 (Hashmatullah 21, Asghar 1) Rashid, who has started well, beats Asghar with a seductive legspinner. He’s the only key player who is out of form, so a few wickets here would complete a pretty perfect day for England.
“Haha love that scorecard from the Rothmans Cup,” says Greg Fearn. “England 177-8 off their 50. Derek Pringle getting his eye in before falling just as he was about to unleash with 4 from 41 balls. No problem for the Aussies that, knocking them off with 0 balls remaining and a whopping 2 wickets in hand.”
You think that’s bad? Look at this explosive start from Rizwan-uz-Zaman and Shoaib Mohammad.
26th over: Afghanistan 105-3 (Hashmatullah 19, Asghar 0) Wood replaces Stokes, who bowled a decent spell of 4-0-12-0, and concedes a single from his first over back. There’s nothing much to report really
, apart from the fACT THAT IT’S ONLY BLOODY WELL COMING HOME
25th over: Afghanistan 104-3 (Hashmatullah 18, Asghar 0) That’s only Rashid’s third wicket of the tournament, and hopefully the start of a good afternoon’s work for him.
WICKET! Afghanistan 104-3 (Rahmat c Bairstow b Rashid 46)
Oh my word. Adil Rashid’s fifth ball is a vile full toss that Rahmat clouts straight into the hands of Bairstow at deep midwicket. Rahmat stands still for an age, a study in confusion and self-loathing, before dragging himself from the field.
24th over: Afghanistan 102-2 (Rahmat 45, Hashmatullah 17) I’m sure Adil Rashid will be on soon. It’s a big day for him, as he has rapidly gone from irreplaceable to vulnerable.
“I feel for Afghanistan, having to walk out with an Everest-like target towering in front of them,” says Uma Venktraman. “All this powerplay nonsense has to go.. why must the dice be so loaded in favour of batsmen? Level the playing field, I say, raze all the run mountains!”
I’m sure they will after this World Cup. Going back to one Kookaburra ball – or two Dukes balls – might be a start.
23rd over: Afghanistan 100-2 (Rahmat 44, Hashmatullah 16) Moeen has moved around the wicket to the right-handed Rahmat, who continues to bat as if in a Test match. In the circumstances there’s nothing wrong with that. He scampers back for a second to bring up the hundred; those are the only runs from the over.
22nd over: Afghanistan 98-2 (Rahmat 42, Hashmatullah 16) This is a sharp spell from Stokes, who is also pushing 90mph. Hashmatullah does well to dig out a yorker for one of four singles from the over.
“It seems Tim was, understandably, taken by Gulbadin’s arms (over 30),” says Daniel Sixsmith. “Though I’d be surprised if he liked them quite as much as the man himself, as the brilliant Out of the Ashes showed us.”
Oh my word, I didn’t realise that was him. I’ve not seen that film for years; I must watch it again.
21st over: Afghanistan 94-2 (Rahmat 40, Hashmatullah 14) Another nice shot from Rahmat Shah, who glances Moeen fine for four. Hashmaullah is then beaten, and slightly startled, by a delivery that spits nastily from the pitch.
19th over: Afghanistan 83-2 (Rahmat 32, Hashmatullah 11) The success of Wood means England may only play one spinner at the business end of this tournament, so this is an important game for Moeen and especially Adil Rashid. Moeen is a bit unfortunate when Rahmat edges through slip at catchable height for four.
“Rob,” says Charles. “The other annoying thing about the whole round robin phase being effectively wrapped up halfway through is that lots of folk are left holding tickets to matches with no point at all. I’ve tickets for what will be the deadist of dead rubbers at the Riverside next Friday, and am finding it hard to work up any excitement at all.”
I wouldn’t worry about the last bit – that’s just middle age. But yes, I must say I didn’t see all these dead rubbers coming. I wish I had because I’d be insufferable now. That said, I wouldn’t rule South Africa out just yet. If they win tomorrow they will have about as much chance of winning the tournament as Pakistan did at the same stage in 1992.
18th over: Afghanistan 78-2 (Rahmat 27, Hashmatullah 11) Stokes replaces Wood, who bowled a calefactive spell of 3-1-7-1, and bursts a good delivery past Hashmatullah. The game is over, both sides know that, but there is a decent intensity to the contest.
17th over: Afghanistan 75-2 (Rahmat 26, Hashmatullah 9) Rahmat charges Moeen and drives him for a classical straight six. I think he fancies becoming Afghanistan’s first World Cup centurion today. Obviously they all fancy it, but I think he has an eye on it. Several, perhaps.
16th over: Afghanistan 66-2 (Rahmat 18, Hashmatullah 8) Wood is producing some hot hot heat. He looks almost angry, which is unlike him, and slams a bouncer past the ducking Hashmatullah to set the tone for an excellent maiden. On current form, he’s undroppable.
“Looking at the Mali-Rwanda women’s cricket scorecard, I thought, ‘Mali aren’t up to much, then,’ before realising that Rwanda might just have the modern women’s cricket equivalent of Roberts-Garner-Holding-Marshall bowling for them,” says Andrew Mullinder. “Which made me wonder, which ten-leagues-tall fast bowler was better, Garner or Ambrose? Completely irrelevant for today’s match, but thoughts? I say Ambrose.”
Ambrose in Tests, Garner in ODIs, for mine.
15th over: Afghanistan 66-2 (Rahmat 18, Hashmatullah 8) Nothing much ever happens when Moeen bowls in ODIs – a few singles per over, the odd boundary or wicket. He plays a quietly important role, and has started pretty well today: 3-0-11-0.
“Afghanistan pacing the reply nicely and ahead of England after 10 overs,” says Brian Withington. “Morgan’s decision to bat first now looking even riskier than when my brother opined thusly at 10:30.”
14th over: Afghanistan 62-2 (Rahmat 16, Hashmatullah 6) Hashmatullah edges Wood through the slips for four. An affronted Wood responds with a zesty lifter that beats the bat by a distance. I am watching an England with two, maybe three 90mph bowlers, a legspinner and an entire XI of six-hitters. I WANT MY ENGLAND BACK.
(NB: I don’t actually want them back.)
13th over: Afghanistan 57-2 (Rahmat 16, Hashmatullah 2) “Have to agree with Chris Parker’s point about the round robin format, to which I’d add that the match scheduling hasn’t worked out terribly well either,” says David Hopkins. “I think there’s been only two games so far between the top four teams – was it a conscious choice to load those towards the end of the schedule? And won’t it just been that those games will mean little other than jockeying for semi-final positions?”
I assume the fixtures were done randomly, but I agree that we could have done with having the three Big Three matches early on. If New Zealand beat South Africa tomorrow and Bangladesh lose to Australia on Thursday, that is pretty much it. It’s such a shame.
12th over: Afghanistan 53-2 (Rahmat 14, Hashmatullah 0) Wood now has eight wickets at 16 in this tournament. His form is so encouraging with the knockout stages in mind, assuming England get there, and he stays fit.
“Some people getting a bit carried away, Rob, but not me,” says Simon McMahon. “I mean, it’s onlyAfghanistan blooming well coming home!!!”
WICKET! Afghanistan 52-2 (Gulbadin c Buttler b Wood 37)
Mark Wood, who has scorched along in Jofra Archer’s shadow during this World Cup, strikes with his fifth ball. Gulbadin, beaten for pace, top-edges a pull high towards short fine leg, and the wicketkeeper Buttler runs round to take a good diving catch.
11th over: Afghanistan 51-1 (Gulbadin 37, Rahmat 12) Moeen Ali, buoyed by a frisky strike rate of 344 with the bat, replaces Chris Woakes and hurries through his first over. Three singles from it; nothing to see here.
“How many,” says Nick Donovan, “does Gulbadin need to get to be in consideration for Man of the Match?”
Good question. 18?
10th over: Afghanistan 48-1 (Gulbadin 36, Rahmat 10) Gulbadin is beaten, trying to again slug Archer over the leg side. Afghanistan will lose this game but the pitch is so flat that there’s a chance for someone to score their first World Cup hundred. Rahmat, the most orthodox of the Afghanistan top order, looks like he wants to bat through the innings; he has 10 from 29 balls.
9th over: Afghanistan 44-1 (Gulbadin 35, Rahmat 7) Woakes’ slower ball is pulled behind square for four by Gulbadin, who is in punchy mood. He slaps another boundary over cover later in the over and has raced to 35 from 23 balls.
8th over: Afghanistan 35-1 (Gulbadin 26, Rahmat 7) Archer beats Rahmat Shah with consecutive deliveries – the first fullish, the second short. One from the over.
“Is no one else worried about the existential consequence of Morgan’s innings?” says Robert Wilson. “It’s reminiscent of that gamer moment when you have tweaked the database, Plymouth Argyle have just won their tenth Champions League in a row and you have forced Roy Keane into early retirement (and possible imprisonment). It’s fun and all but after a while there’s an issue with self-esteem and suspension of disbelief, surely?”
With computer games my biggest problem was suspension of dignity, especially when I woke up the entire hall of residence at 4am by shouting “GET THE EFF IN” after Gillingham grabbed a last-minute equaliser at Grimsby.
7th over: Afghanistan 34-1 (Gulbadin 25, Rahmat 7) “Afghanistan’s approach to batting has generally been ‘go big or go home’ (‘going home’ being the end result fairly often),” says Matt Dony. “So in a situation like this, they may as well double down on that tactic and just try to smash it. Which could play into England’s hands. So, any plans for later this afternoon? I’m guessing you’ll have a bit of time on your hands after the 35th over or so. A period of quiet meditation on the beautiful brutality of Morgan’s innings?”
Man Fire Food is on at 6pm. Dare to dream.
6th over: Afghanistan 28-1 (Gulbadin 21, Rahmat 6) Marvellous stuff from the captain Gulbadin, who smashes Archer’s first three balls for 14! The first was slugged over midwicket for four, the second spanked to the same area for six and the third driven over mid-off.
5th over: Afghanistan 13-1 (Gulbadin 6, Rahmat 6) Rahmat gets the first boundary with a high-class back-foot drive off Woakes – and then he’s dropped by Bairstow! It was a relatively simple chance at first slip, but Bairstow muffed it and Root couldn’t grab the rebound.
“About twenty years ago I found myself in an exasperating conversation with an American who was watching cricket for the first time,” says Peter Salmon. “’Why,’ he asked, ‘don’t they just try and hit every ball for six?’ Was very difficult to explain to him the subtleties of cricket that made such an approach impossible. My how we laughed at his bafflement, the fool. Ho hum.”
Are you sure it wasn’t a Canadian?
4th over: Afghanistan 9-1 (Gulbadin 6, Rahmat 2) Archer rips a bouncer past Rahmat’s attempted hook. England have started like a team defending 198 rather than 398.
3rd over: Afghanistan 6-1 (Gulbadin 4, Rahmat 1) Woakes beats Gulbadin with a lovely outswinger from wide on the crease. The required rate is 8.34, already.
“I cannot quite believe what I have just seen in the last two hours,” says Avitaj Mitra. “I just cannot. That is all. (Takes a deep breath.)”
How many times have I told you not to watch Chernobyl on your own?
2nd over: Afghanistan 4-1 (Gulbadin 3, Rahmat 0) Rahmat Shah is beaten by a sharp lifter outside off stump. Jofra Archer is 33/1 to win SPOTY. He was 250/1 a month ago, and I thought about putting £100 on it, and I thought about it a bit more, and I thought about it even
“According to the ODI rankings, Rashid Khan is the third best ODI bowler in the world and there’s one England batsman in the top 15,” says Jeremy Gostick. “Make of that what you will.”
You misspelt ‘was’.
WICKET! Afghanistan 4-1 (Noor Ali b Archer 0)
Two balls. That’s all Jofra Archer needed to take his first wicket, even if it wasn’t his greatest piece of bowling. Noor Ali had a leaden-footed slap at a full, wide delivery and dragged it back onto the stumps.
1st over: Afghanistan 1-0 (Noor Ali 0, Gulbadin 0) Chris Woakes starts with a goowho cares let’s just keep talking about Morgand over to Noor Ali. A legside wide is the only run conceded.
Thanks Tim, hello everyone. Cricket is a simple game. Eleven men chase a ball around for 50 overs, and at the end, England break another record. They claimed two of the biggest today. Eoin Morgan beasted 17 sixes, the most in a one-day international, and the team broke the ODI record with 25.
It’s rare that someone breaks a world record while having a fitness test. Morgan’s back got quite a workout; so did his jaw. He has a distinctive six-face – you know the one, a kind of effort gurn as he makes contact – and I doubt I’ll ever get it out of my head after today.
Moeen Ali also hit four sixes in a nine-ball 31. A nine-ball 31! Given his recent form, that could be a really important little innings. But this is and forever shall be Morgan’s match. Seventeen sixes. That’s only one fewer than England hit throughout the last World Cup. Morgan has since created a team that have normalised the preposterous. And he has a practice:preach ratio we could all learn from.
I need to go and lie down. Thanks for your company, your mutterings about boring England (which didn’t go unheard), and your entertaining reactions to one of the all-time great fireworks displays. Apologies for the typos and the odd blank that had to be filled in later – writing the OBO is like doing an exam in your favourite subject, but today it turned into a tricky Greek unseen. And it was still an honour to do it.
Time for a bowling change of our own: on comes the consistently excellent Rob Smyth.
At halfway, England were 139-1. So the last 25 overs brought 258 runs.
Morgan didn’t even come in till the 30th over. The headlines will say Captain Fantastic, but then they often do, and this wasn’t something we’ve ever seen before – even from Jos Buttler.
When Morgan came out to bat, the leading six-hitter in this tournament was the Australian captain Aaron Finch, with 14, from 310 balls faced. Morgan hit 17 sixes today, from only 71 balls – not one in 20-odd, but one in four. And Old Trafford is a big ground.
Morgan brought all his calm, all his strength, all his eye, all his chutzpah. It was unreal. All England should be rising to him. And all Ireland too.
Afghanistan fielded poorly, but they actually bowled pretty well and didn’t fall apart in the face of the biggest onslaught I’ve ever seen. Their captain, Gulbadin, deserves a medal of his own, for making some shrewd bowling changes and nurturing a wounded Rashid Khan.
Way back when, in the 26th over, a reader named John Morrissey made a good point. He now follows it up. “So, when we do go full Morganballs…”
Time for a glance at Twitter. “Reading along at work in Norway,” says Brendan Large, “and just wondering…what did Morgan do to his back and can someone please do it to mine?”
50th over: England 397-5 (Ali 31, Woakes 1) Collapse, what collapse? Moeen is slyly taking the opportunity to play himself into form. He hits two sixes off Dawlat that combine the power of Eoin Morgan and the grace of David Gowe, and finishes with 31 off nine balls. The world has officially gone mad.
Wicket! Stokes b Dawlat 2 (England 378-6)
The final over is bowled by Dawlat, who is no doormat. He pulls out a perfect yorker to bowl Stokes round his legs, and England have lost four wickets for 25 off 15 balls, so we can add one more to the pile of superlatives: possibly the least significant collapse in their history.
49th over: England 378-5 (Stokes 2, Ali 14) Like the caring dad he seems to be, Gulbadin brings back Rashid Khan now that his tormentors have left the playground. His luck doesn’t change, alas – Moeen tonks him for six to bring up Rashid’s hundred. Showing some spirit, Rashid has Stokes almost stumped and then dropped by the schoolboy keeper, Ikram. The gods really have it in for Rashid today: he finishes with another six from Moeen, and figures of 9-0-110-0, which are, I’m afraid, the worst in World Cup history.
48th over: England 363-5 (Stokes 1, Ali 0) And well played Dawlat, who somehow produces an over for only five runs, and gets Jos Buttler to boot – chipping a slower ball to mid-off. The Afghanis’ fielding has suddenly improved – Morgan, like Root, was caught by Rahmat. Morgan had hit 17 sixes, and only four fours.
47th over: England 359-4 (Buttler 0, Stokes 0) Gulbadin, in a generous piece of captaincy, takes Rashid off and brings himself back. If the Tory contenders are wondering what leadership looks like, that’s it right there. It costs him a couple of sixes, naturally, from the frankly ludicrous Morgan, but it also brings the wickets of both batsmen. Root holes out at long-on and Morgan miscues to the cover sweeper. Well played Gulbadin, well played Root, and phenomenally well played Morgan.
Wicket!! Morgan c Rahmat b Gulbadin 148 (England 359-4)
At last, Morgan holes out. The end of an unbelievable innings: 148 off 71 balls.