Wright short by one run, Afghanistan short by 116

The big swipe off Dawlat Zadran failed to connect with precision, still, Luke Wright would've backed himself to run three before the ball reached the Afghan fielder at long-on. However, with Samit Patel at the other end, the batsmen could push for only two — ensuring that the big-hitting England all-rounder finished on an unbeaten 99.

Wright, in his 55-ball effort that saw six maximums being struck, had pipped out fellow team-mate Alex Hales's highest ever England T20I score by an asterisk mark. Hales had 99 against the West Indies earlier this year, Wright now boasted of 99*.

But most importantly, and almost symbolically, Wright now boasted of England's highest individual score in a World T20, eclipsing Kevin Pietersen's 79 — an innings that was played during the successful campaign the last time around — as England proved that they were well in the hunt to defend their hard-earned title.

While it was celebration time in the England camp — they had after all won by a mammoth 116 runs — the Afghans looked rather disappointed with their effort. Apart from number eight batsman Gulbodin Naib, who top-scored in his side's hopeless total of 80 all out, none of the Afghans raised their level with either bat or ball the way they did against the Indians on Wednesday.

Reputation gained & lost

Two days after making a big impact against MS Dhoni's side, and raising many expectations, the Afghans promised again with the wicket of Craig Kieswetter — England's opener and wicketkeeper — in the first over of the game, but failed to keep foot pressed on the pedal.

Having won the toss and elected to field first, Nawroz Mangal must have sensed history in the making when Shapoor Zadran tore through Kieswetter's defence to leave England on 0/1, but the tide shifted rather dramatically after that.

... contd.

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