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Cricket World Cup

Defending Champions England stunned by Afghanistan

Published on October 17, 2023
Written by Christopher

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Defending Champions England stunned by Afghanistan
  • Afghanistan record historic win over England
  • England left with little margin for error in remaining six group games
  • England to face in-form South Africa on Saturday

In a stunning upset in Delhi, England faced a major setback at the hands of Afghanistan, suffering a 69-run defeat that has placed their World Cup defence in jeopardy. They now face a crucial fixture against in-form South Africa on Saturday.

Afghanistan record second ever 50-over World Cup win

While this loss doesn’t eliminate England from the competition, it leaves them with little margin for error in their final six group stage matches. This defeat to Afghanistan, the first in any format, serves as a wake-up call for the defending champions.

England’s bowlers put on a lacklustre performance, allowing Afghanistan to reach a total of 284 all out. The Afghan batters were particularly dominant early on, with opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz delivering an explosive performance, scoring 80 runs from just 57 balls. Adil Rashid managed to regain some control with a commendable 3-42, but loose bowling in the latter stages, coupled with a solid 58 from Ikram Alikhil, propelled Afghanistan to a respectable score.

England’s reply under the lights was far from ideal. Jonny Bairstow fell lbw to left-armer Fazalhaq Farooqi in the second over, followed by Joe Root’s dismissal by Mujeeb Ur Rahman after scoring just 11. Dawid Malan’s dismissal, a tame chip to extra cover, added to England’s woes. Only Harry Brook, who notched up 66 runs, provided significant resistance. Captain Jos Buttler also fell, comprehensively bowled by seamer Naveen-ul-Haq.

The England team, eager to replicate their memorable triumph from four years ago, find themselves in a challenging position after losing two of their first three games. Their next encounter against an in-form South Africa in Mumbai on Saturday looms as a pivotal moment in their World Cup campaign.

This match, only Afghanistan’s second win at a 50-over World Cup, was celebrated fervently by their spirited supporters in the stadium. The victory marks a significant milestone for Afghan cricket and underscores their growing presence on the international stage.

Afghan win is one of the greatest ever World Cup shocks

England’s defeat by Afghanistan will go down as one of the great World Cup shocks. It ranks alongside Ireland’s win against England in Bangalore in 2011, Zimbabwe beating Australia in 1983 or Kenya’s win over West Indies in 1996. For Afghanistan, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament, to beat the defending champions is unprecedented.

England in a difficult position, but don’t write off the holders yet

England are not yet out of the World Cup but they can probably afford just one more defeat in their remaining six Group Stage matches. Pakistan failed to make the semi-finals in 2019 having won five and lost three (one NR) of their nine matches.

England are still due to play the  top two favourites in the latest outright odds for the tournament – host India (best price 5/4) and South Africa (9/2).

At the time of writing, England can be backed at a best price of 9/1 at bet365 to win the World Cup. England are 3/1 to reach the final at BoyleSports having been 5/4 before their first match with the same bookmaker.

South Africa game pivotal to England hopes

England face South Africa on Saturday in Mumbai desperate for a victory to get their World Cup campaign back on track after their two losses in the opening three matches. By contrast South Africa have made an impressive start to the tournament and have been newly installed as second favourites.

Check out the UK’s best Cricket World Cup betting sites and the best online sportsbooks for cricket with

For England vs South Africa check out our guide.

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Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives. Editorial Promise
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