New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The eighth-wicket partnership of 57 runs between left-handers Moeen Ali and David Willey swung the momentum of the match towards England, opined Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
England were struggling at 57/6 when the Moeen-David partnership took charge, posting 57 runs in 33 balls to help post a fighting target of 142/7. They smashed 55 runs in the last 30 deliveries, including 25 in the 19th over. Afghanistan were 15 runs short in their chase.
Moeen remained unbeaten at 41, David was not out at 20.
“The last five overs of our innings were crucial. They took the game away from us there. At 57/6 we had a great chance and were thinking of restricting them below 100,” leg-spinner Rashid Khansaid said at the post match press conference.
“But Moeen played well. He batted according to the situation, rotated the strike at the beginning of his innings and hit big shots towards the end.”
England captain Eoin Morgan, out for a first-ball duck which he attributed to an error in judgement, also identified the late order blitz to be the reason for their win.
“We needed to set a decent score on the board and targeted 120-125. But the 18th and the 19th over helped us a long way. The Moeen-David partnership was very important because chasing 120 and 140 are very different. Moeen came up with the goods,” he said after the match.
He was not unduly worried about their batting collapse, losing three wickets in an over, before the crucial game against Sri Lanka here on Saturday.
“Our strength is that we bat deep. No concern about our batting. It was a matter of adapting to the wicket. We have been practicing it but couldn’t execute it today. We learnt a lot about the wicket. It will help us against Sri lanka.”
Morgan lauded the effort of Afghanistan, who lost their third consecutive match, but gave the big teams a good run for their money.
“Afghanistan is probably the best associate nation at the moment. They are playing really well and improving with each outing,” he said.
Rashid was satisfied with the performance put up by his team, though that wasn’t quite enough to snatch a win against a full member nation.
“We played a good game. Our spinners bowled very well and did their job. We aimed to restrict them to 100. We came close while chasing. The start was important. Unfortunately we didn’t start well, lost three wickets early. Hopefully we will learn from our mistakes.”