England reach 142/7 after Afghan scare

 23 Mar 2016 - 14:42

England reach 142/7 after Afghan scare
England's Moeen Ali (R) plays a shot watched by Afghanistan's wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi)


New Delhi: Moeen Ali's timely cameo lifted England to 142 for seven after Afghanistan's spinners wreaked havoc in a World Twenty20 group match in New Delhi Wednesday.

Electing to bat, England's top and middle order were undone by the Afghan spinners only to see an unbroken 57-run eighth wicket partership between Ali (41) and David Willey (20) help them post a respectable score.

Afghanistan's slow bowlers got down to business right away on a hot and sunny afternoon in the Indian capital to reduce England to 85 for seven.

It was hard to imagine it was the same English batting team that had pulled off a record chase against South Africa last Friday.

Skipper Asghar Stanikzai gave the new ball to Amir Hamza and the left-arm spinner did not disappoint, snaring dashing opener Jason Roy in the third over.

James Vince, who came into the side in place of the injured Alex Hales, then tried to counter-attack along with in-form Joe Root with a 26-run second wicket partnership.

But Mohammad Nabi's introduction reaped immediate rewards as the veteran off-spinner soon had both danger men trudging back to the dugout.

Vince was caught and bowled while captain Eoin Morgan was out for a golden duck, putting Nabi on a hattrick. Ben Stokes denied Nabi his third strike in as many balls.

But Root's run-out in the same over spelt big trouble for England.

With the batting in a shambles, leg-spinners Rashid Khan and Samiullah Shenwari also joined the party to remind England of their humiliating 2014 World T20 exit when they lost to the Netherlands.

But Ali's 33-ball knock, which was laced with four boundaries and a six, knocked some of the gloss off the Afghan figures. Willey also got stuck into Hamza's left-arm spin as the duo managed to score 25 runs out in the penultimate over.