Oh dear. That was almost a complete calamity. The words ‘do I not like Orange’ kept swirling around my head. But luckily one man stood up and said “I will not play like a complete buffoon today”. That man was Moeen Ali, whose precious 41 saved England from an utter Kabuls-up.
England actually started off ok. We reached 42-1 in the first 5 overs before James Vince, who was deputising for the crocked Alex Hales, chipped a simple catch back to Nabi. Things then got worse when Nabi nabbed another wicket off the very next ball: Morgan shouldered arms to a straight ball and was bowled. Hmmm. It wasn’t the skippers finest moment.
The situation then went from bad to worse when Root was run out in comical fashion. Root looked at Stokes; Stokes looked at Root; both of them seemed to run; then one changed his mind; both looked utterly confused and suddenly Root was on his way back to the pavilion. Ouch.
When Stokes himself fell cheaply and then Buttler departed, we were starring down the barrel at 57-6. Thankfully however, Mo restored some order: his shot selection was exemplary and he got enough support from Jordan and Willey to help us scramble up to 142.
Although England would’ve been relieved to reach respectability, Afghanistan could’ve chased the runs if they’d batted well. Unfortunately (for them at least!) then lost a couple of early wickets to the excellent David Willey and gradually started to panic. Their inexperience showed.
Once the Afghans were reduced to 35-4, the result was never really in doubt. They couldn’t keep up with the rate and seemed more concerned with making the score respectable than anything else. This was something of a shame, as they only lost by 15 runs in the end. I’m sure they’ll learn from the experience.
As for England, our campaign moves on. We’re not exactly showing any consistency – I really don’t understand how we can chase 230 odd against Steyn, Rabada and Tahir yet struggle against an associate nation – but that’s what makes following England exciting. You never know when the next glorious triumph or dismal capitulation will occur.
Hopefully it will be the former when we play Sri Lanka. But I say that more in hope than expectation. Thoughts?