England kicked off their T20 World Cup campaign with a five-wicket win over Afghanistan – but the chase was patient and a little shaky rather than exciting.
After leveling their opponents for just 112 thanks largely to Sam Curran’s five-wicket haul, England lost their first five overs in reply before clinching an 11-ball win in reserve in Perth.
Former captain Eoin Morgan has described England’s chances of increasing their net run rate as a missed opportunity, with rain likely to be a factor in this World Cup.
The La Nina weather phenomenon has brought wet conditions along Australia’s east coast, with rain likely affecting England’s matches against Ireland in Melbourne on Wednesday and hosts and defending champions Australia on Friday.
New Zealand’s net run rate after their thrashing of Australia in Sydney is 4.45, while England’s is currently at 0.62.
talk Sky Sports Cricket, Morgan said: “The net run rate could be huge but I hope not. England bat at number 10 and if you chase eight downs in 10 overs your run rate is better.
“Maybe it’s a missed opportunity, but many dressing rooms will be relieved to come off the win and get into the thick of it.”
England pace setter Mark Wood, who went 2-23 in four crushing victories in the Afghanistan rounds, said: “That was our intention. [to be aggressive with the bat].
“But the ball was swinging, it was bouncing, and I don’t think it’s easy for people to go out there and break it. Limits are also huge.
“We went there with that intention, we talked about it, but sometimes you have to play smart cricket and get the win.
“Afghanistan are a really dangerous team with the winners and I am sure they will beat one of the top teams. I’m glad it wasn’t us. I thought we were clinical.
England captain Jos Buttler added: “It felt like the ball had turned over early [in the chasse] Against a very talented bowling attack, it was not easy. We challenged and felt you should pay tribute to the bowlers.
“We could have exploded and tried to be two or three early and apply pressure. It could have been smoother but I think Afghanistan played well.
The batting may be erratic, but England’s recent results haven’t been, with Buttler’s side winning each of their last five T20 Internationals and tied with Pakistan. Warm-ups began in Brisbane on Monday.
Sky Sports Cricket Nasser Hussain said: “It was a real shock for English white-ball cricket to lose Morgan as captain this year and not win a home series this summer.
“There was a bit of umm and ahing but they won in Pakistan and Australia and started the World Cup well.
“Buttler has played a lot and said England will be there or thereabouts and they are a tough team to beat, but other teams will see them as one of the favourites, no doubt.”
Watch England’s next T20 World Cup match against Ireland in Melbourne live on Sky Sports Cricket on Wednesday. The game starts at 5 am.
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