Afghanistan had no chance against the formidable English side
When Afghanistan beat Pakistan in their opening match, everyone thought that they were going to be the dark horse.There is no shortage of dark horses in tournaments -- including this ICC Cricket World Cup. In fact, there are two perennial dark horses of any tournament -- one is Pakistan and the other is the West Indies -- but both have been bleached this year. So, it was only fair that Afghanistan beat England.
How did they do it? By letting Albion hit sixes.
England hit so many sixes that people stopped counting them, because the digits on their calculators ran out. In the end, England got tired of all of this. Thus, the Afghan strategy worked out well for them. Even after they were allowed to hit so many sixes, England failed to reach 400 runs, falling short by three. So what if they reached 397, the highest total till date in this Cup? You are no good if you do not get 400. Congrats Afghanistan!
A brief history of sixes in the match
If anyone was silly enough to watch this match, no comment. It wasn’t much of one. There were so many sixes that all the English just sat there and cheered the Afghans for letting them do it.
Eoin Morgan, the captain, hit 17, the highest by any player in an ODI. England hit 25, the highest by any ODI team.
Eleven sixes were conceded by Rashid Khan -- the T-20 legend-turned-mew-mew in ODI -- the most by a bowler in an ODI. His 110 runs in the match were the most by any bowler in a World Cup match. Seven sixes were hit off Rashid, by Morgan, in this match -- the most by a batsman off any bowler in an ODI. 397 was England’s highest this Cup.
Before that, it was 386 against Bangladesh in Cardiff earlier. So, thanks Afghanistan, for letting England score this high and letting Bangladesh off the hook.
World cup rankings vs ICC rankings mid-way
At the midpoint, the cup rankings are more or less the same as the ICC ODI rankings except for Bangladesh and South Africa. Bangladesh is fifth in the Cup, but eighth in the ICC rankings. South Africa is eighth in the WC now, but fourth in the ICC rankings. Australia has moved from the fifth to be in the top four right now with England, New Zealand, and India.
There is still no reason to foresee a major shift in the top cluster. However, if Bangladesh does better in the Cup rankings than the ICC numbers, we all should be happy, as wise friend Kaiser Kabir says.
Afsan Chowdhury is a journalist and researcher.