SYDNEY, March 13 (PTI): Knocked out of the quarterfinal race, the England cricket team ended its World Cup campaign with a consolatory nine-wicket triumph over debutants Afghanistan in a rain-curtailed pool A match here today.
On a stop-start day, Afghanistan failed miserably in putting together a decent batting performance as England romped home without any trouble in a match shortened to 25-overs-a-side owing to frequent rain interruptions.
Afghanistan were reduced to 111/7 in 36.2 overs before heavy rain left England with a target of 101 in 25 overs via the Duckroth/Lewis method.
The English steered to victory in 18.1 overs, riding on Ian Bell�s unbeaten 52-run knock.
Earlier put in to bat, Afghanistan�s top-five batsmen contributed a mere 41 runs. The rest of the line-up was no better as it stuttered along before rain halted proceedings for a lengthy duration during the 33rd over.
The English bowlers, hit all over the park in their previous games, finally got going against the minnows keeping it tight and striking at regular intervals.
Shafiqullah was the top-scorer for Afghanistan with a 64-ball 30, which included one hit to the fence. In fact, the entire Afghan innings comprised a mere seven fours and a solitary six.
The bowlers shared the exploits equally with Chris Jordan and Ravi Bopara fetching two wickets apiece. While Jordan gave away a mere 12 runs in his 6.2 overs, including a couple of maidens, Bopara conceded 31 runs in his eight overs.
The Afghans never looked like completing their full quota of 50 overs and were seven down with 111 on board when their innings was declared over at that stage owing to a prolonged rain interruption.
The target for England was revised to 101 in 25 overs and the floundering team, for once, did not break a sweat in getting past the finishing line.
Afghanistan: Mangal c Root b Anderson 4, Ahmadi c Root b Broad 7, Zazai c Buttler b Jordan 6, Jamal c Buttler b Bopara 17, Shenwari c Morgan b Jordan 7, Shafiq c Bopara b Tredwell 30, Nabi c Tredwell b Bopara 16, Zadran not out 12, Hassan not out 0. Extras: (LB-6, W-6) 12. Total: (7 wkts, 36.2 overs) 111. Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-20, 3-25, 4-34, 5-65, 6-93, 7-101. Bowling: Anderson 7-0-18-1; Broad 8-1-18-1; Jordan 6.2-2-13-2; Bopara 8-1-31-2; Tredwell 7-0-25-1.
England: Hales c Zazai b Hassan 37, Bell not out 52, Taylor not out 8. Extras: (LB-3, W-1) 4. Total: (1 wkt, 18.1 overs) 101. Fall of wickets: 1-83. Bowling: Shapoor 4-0-25-0; Dawlat 3-0-23-0; Hassan 5-0-17-1; Nabi 4.1-0-14-0; Shenwari 2-0-19-0.