Moeen and Willey star as England survive Afghanistan scare


Moeen Ali and David Willey helped rescue England as they survived a dreadful batting performance to knock Afghanistan out of the World Twenty 20 with a 15-run win on Wednesday.

England recorded the highest successful run chase in tournament history against South Africa last time out, but threatened a collapse in a largely dismal display with the bat in the Super 10 Group 1 clash against resilient opposition in Delhi.

The 2010 winners saw their top order fail spectacularly, losing three wickets in the sixth over en route to slumping to 57-6, but a rapid stand of 57 between Moeen (41 not out) and Willey (20 not out) pushed England to a defendable total of 142-7.

And it proved to be a target Afghanistan never looked like matching, Willey (2-23) taking a pair of early wickets as England reduced them to 13-3 inside three overs, with Inzamam-ul-Haq's side only managing to reach 127-9.

Jason Roy (5) was the first to fall for England and, after James Vince (22) and Joe Root (12) threatened to put together a key partnership, Mohammad Nabi (2-17) turned matters firmly in Afghanistan's favour.

The offspinner removed Vince and bowled captain Eoin Morgan for a duck. He was not able to complete the hat-trick, but then combined with Rashid Khan to run out Root following a mix-up with Ben Stokes.

Jos Buttler (6) and Stokes (7) fell cheaply - the former going to a terrific catch from Nabi - but, although Chris Jordan went for 15, Moeen and Wiley's late surge at least gave England a respectable total.

That duo piled on 44 runs in the final three overs and the target set for Afghanistan looked much more daunting when Willey trapped talisman Mohammad Shahzad (4) lbw and Asghar Stanikzai (1) and Gulbadin Naib (0) followed.

Spinners Moeen (1-17) and Adil Rashid (2-18) each struck in their respective first overs to remove Rashid Khan (15) and Noor Ali Zadran (17) before the latter then dispensed of Nabi (12).

There was no way back from that point for Afghanistan despite an unbeaten 35 from Shafiqullah as England maintained hopes of progressing to the semi-finals ahead their final Super 10 match with Sri Lanka on Saturday.