Luke Wright’s blistering 99 off 55 balls gave England a comprehensive 116-run win over Afghanistan, knocking the Asian minnows out, in a Group A encounter at the R. Premadasa Stadium here Friday.
England, who were put into bat, made a slow start. Shapoor Zadran again gave Afghanistan the early breakthrough, scalping Craig Kieswetter in the first over.
Alex Hales (31) and Wright had trouble getting the measure of the pitch early on. They struggled to get the scoreboard ticking managing just 15 runs off the first four overs.
Zadran’s fifth over opened the floodgates for England as the lanky left-arm pacer gave away 23 runs. The innings stagnated again with the introduction of the spinners.
With the score on 109 for two in 15 overs, Wright again took the initiative, smashing 22 runs of Mohammad Nabi’s 16th over. Eoin Morgan (27) and Wright strung together a partnership of 72 runs, putting the defending champions on the front foot.
Wright went on to become the highest individual scorer for England in T20 internationals.
Afghanistan made the worst possible start to the chase, losing five wickets in the first six overs. The Afghan batsmen showed their inexperience, getting out to some mindless shots.
Their brand of fearless cricket proved to be their downfall. After losing so many wickets in the Powerplay they still went after the bowling and were reduced to 28 for eight in the 11th over.
Gulbodin Naib (44) provided some late fireworks hitting five fours and three sixes but it was too little too late for the Asians.