England vs Afghanistan: Preview and Prediction

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Afghanistan would be under pressure against England after their defeat against India

The 2023 ICC World Cup Caravan will once again head back to Delhi as England takes on Afghanistan on Sunday. 

Jos Buttler & Co. have played two games so far and won one against Bangladesh by a big margin of 137 runs while losing the first match to New Zealand in a one-sided affair. 

On the other hand, Afghanistan are having a terrible time in the tournament so far with two straight losses against Bangladesh and India. Against the hosts in Delhi, Afghanistan produced a flail performance allowing the Rohit Sharma-led side to chase down the target of 265 runs inside 35 overs.

This is going to be an important game for Afghanistan as another loss from here can put them under immense pressure to qualify for the semi-final. England, however, would look to maintain their winning momentum at the smaller ground of Delhi which might unlock the potential of Liam Livingstone, Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, and Ben Stokes.

What have they done so far?

England is one of the strongest contenders for lifting this World Cup and they showcased their might against Bangladesh. Though they lost their first game against New Zealand, the batters were quite impressive in their role. In the next encounter, the remarkable effort from the team helped them thrash Bangladesh by 137 runs.

Joe Root and Dawid Malan are two of the players who are in terrific touch right now, so one can expect big scores from them. We have seen in this tournament how batting-friendly the wicket is in the Arun Jaitley Stadium and England would want to take advantage of this opportunity against Afghanistan to score big if they win the toss.

On the other hand, Afghanistan is a much better side than the points table showing right now. They lost both of their games against the Asian countries in the form of Bangladesh and India.

In their tournament opener against Bangladesh, the Afghans folded in the first innings inside 37.2 overs with Rahmanullah Gurbaz top-scoring with 47 runs off 62 balls and Bangladesh chased the target of 157 runs inside 34.4 overs as Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto scored half-centuries.

In the next match as well, India chased down the target inside 35 overs as Rohit Sharma scored the fastest century by an Indian batter in the World Cup and the fifth-fastest overall for India in ODIs. Earlier in the first innings, skipper Hasmatullah Shahidi scored 80 runs off 88 balls alongside Azmatullah Omarzai who collected 62 runs off 69 balls.

Head to Head Record

In the two ODI matches to date between England and Afghanistan, the cricket inventors won on both occasions. One of the encounters took place in the 2019 World Cup where the hosts thrashed the Asian team by 150 runs. 

This is a perfect opportunity for Afghanistan to take revenge for the previous World Cup encounter. They have a good side and have all the capability to beat any team right now.

Key Players

Joe Root: One of the finest batsmen of this generation, Joe Root has been a bit underrated when it comes to ODIs, however, he has shown why he is a brilliant white-ball cricketer. He has scored at an average of around 80, and most importantly with a strike rate of over 100.

Root has scored 159 runs in two matches so far and is all set to score more in the upcoming games. The right-hander now is all set to continue his terrific touch with the willow against Afghanistan on Sunday.

Rashid Khan: One of the best white-ball bowlers in the world right now, Rashid Khan is a legendary spinner who can beat any batsman in the world with his mystery leg spin. So far, the leggie hasn’t been quite impressive, but still, it’s a long tournament and his experience will come into play.

The pitch of Delhi has always supported spinners and it would be interesting to see how Rashid would bowl against the top players like Joe Root, Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler. If he can get the trio, this match can turn in favour of Afghanistan.

Predicted XIs

England: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler ©, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi ©, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi


Looking at the past record, one can easily predict that England has the upper hand in this battle with Malan and Root in great knick.

However, in a big tournament like the World Cup, we have seen some tremendous displays from the underdogs against star-studded sides like Rahul Dravid’s India in the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Afghanistan has been a much better side over the past few years and they can definitely trounce England if they play well just like Ireland did in the 2011 World Cup. Big teams choke more often during big tournaments and one can’t be surprised if the Asian side defeats England on Sunday.