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Sam Curran makes history with England's first ever T20 five-wicket haul as they crawl to World Cup win over Afghanistan | The Sun

SAM CURRAN continued his remarkable switch from crock to champ with the best bowling figures for England in Twenty20 history.

Curran’s performance included bursts of three wickets in four balls and four in six as England began their World Cup campaign with a routine five-wicket win over Afghanistan.


A year ago, Curran missed the previous T20 World Cup because of a stress fracture of the back and the injury continue to affect him into the summer.

But now – especially with fellow left-armer Reece Copley ruled out the tournament last week with an ankle problem – Curran has become England’s key bowler in the death overs with a string of strong performances in the warm-up series against Pakistan and Australia.

He finished with 5-10 as the Afghans crumbled from 82-3 to 112 all out.

Curran can deliver a box of tricks including yorkers, bouncers and slower balls and, most of all, he has a calm and competitive head.

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No other Englishman has taken a five-for in T20s. The previous best figures were Adil Rashid (4-2), Chris Jordan (4-6), David Willey (4-7) and Ravi Bopara (4-10).

Skipper Jos Buttler said: “I think Sam has great character for that role in the closing overs.

"He thrives on the extra responsibility and enjoys the tough moments. He demands the ball, which is a great attitude.”

Curran was helped by some brilliant England fielding.

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All ten Afghanistan wickets fell to catches of which Liam Livingstone, Rashid and Buttler clung onto spectacular efforts.

Livingstone ran, dived and held on at deep point, Rashid caught one over his shoulder running back at mid-off and Buttler hurled himself to his left and caught a tickle down the legside from a Mark Wood thunderbolt.

Wood took a wicket with his first delivery and bowled each of his 24 deliveries at 140kmh or faster and that’s never happened before in a four-over spell in a T20 World Cup. His average speed of 149kmh was also a record, according to data specialists CricViz.

Wood’s space will unsettle better batsmen than the Afghans in the coming weeks.

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Ben Stokes opened the bowling and got through four overs in a T20 match for the first time since February 2020.

England’s run chase was stuttering and they might have tried to score more quickly and enhance their run-rate which could be crucial when the group stage of the Super 12s ends.

Livingstone, just back from an ankle injury that threatened his participation in the tournament, top-scored for England with 29 not out.


Curran revealed: “I had a chat with Jos in Pakistan and he wants me to be ready to bowl in all phases of the game. It’s about being adaptable because we have so many options in the team.

“I enjoy bowling at the death. I like taking on those tough situations at the end of an innings.

"I’m very aware there will be some days when it goes against me but hopefully I can keep taking confidence.

“We’ve been working really hard on our fielding and we know it will be a huge factor in the tournament.

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"Livi started us off with that running catch in front of the Barmy Army, which was really cool. It set the standard for the rest of the innings.”

England next play Ireland on Wednesday and, if they beat Australia in Melbourne on Friday, they could virtually ensure the hosts’ early elimination from the tournament.

Here's how the drama unfolded…

  • Kieran Davies

    Ireland await for Buttler's men

    England travel to Melbourne now to face Ireland on Wednesday.

    Having knocked out West Indies en route to the 'Super 12' stage, nobody will be taking the game for granted.

    Ireland will be buoyed by the Afghan bowling today, hoping to upset England at the MCG.

  • Kieran Davies

    Smacker at the WACA

    Liam Livingstone scored 29 not out from 21 balls to ensure that England made it across the line today.

    Losing wickets at regular intervals, Buttler will have been relieved that they were not chasing a bigger target.

    Livingstone ending up with a strike rate of 138.10 as he helped his side to secure the win.

  • Kieran Davies

    Curran leads the way

    Sam Curran was the pick of the England performances today with his fifer, the first England player to achieve this in T20 format.

    His bowling led to the batting collapse of the Afghans which made the chase more comfortable for Jos Buttler's side.

    His figures of 3.4 overs, five wickets for ten runs is the standout performance.

    Credit: AFP
  • Kieran Davies

    England win by 5 wickets

  • Kieran Davies

    England 111/5 (18 overs)

    England edge ever closer to their target.

    Now needing only 2 runs for the win.

    Nabi with another good over.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 104/5 (17 overs)

    England need 9 more runs to win this game.

    With 18 balls remaining it would take something special by the Afghans to pull this one out of the bag.

    Buttler will be pleased with their bowling and fielding but will feel the batting looked a little rusty.

    Credit: PA
  • Kieran Davies

    England 100/5 (16 overs)

    That is the end of Rashid's spell for today.

    He finishes with figures of 4 overs, 1 wicket for 17 runs.

    England did not score a single boundary off the leg-spinner.

  • Kieran Davies

    Wicket – Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

    Brook tries to hit him straight down the ground and picks out the fielder at long on.

    First wicket of the day for Rashid.

    Simple catch taken.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 95/4 (15 overs)

    Expensive over from Fareed as he goes for 14 runs.

    Livingstone has started to open up a bit now and look to take this game by the scruff of the neck.

    Afghanistan guilty of bowling too short to these England batsmen at times.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 81/4 (14 overs)

    Afghanistan need wickets to stand any chance in this game.

    If they had all taken their catches like Nabi today, England could have been in trouble in this game.

    The run rate keeps ticking over.

    Credit: PA
  • Kieran Davies

    Wicket – Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)

    What a catch from skipper Nabi.

    Malan looks to drive it through the covers but the Afghan captain dives to his right and takes an amazing catch.

    We have seen some great catches in the World Cup today.

  • Kieran Davies

    Review decision: Not out

  • Kieran Davies

    Afghanistan review

  • Kieran Davies

    England 76/3 (13 overs)

    Nabi bowls another tight over with five runs coming from it.

    England take a quick single that really shouldn't have been there as the player misfields under pressure.

    Leading by example Nabi.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 71/3 (12 overs)

    Rashid is bowling well and England struggle with the variation of hi deliveries.

    At least once an over he beats the bat all ends up.

    Fortunately for England, he has yet to register a wicket today.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 66/3 (11 overs)

    The wicket of Ben Stokes is a huge scalp for Afghanistan.

    Four runs off the skipper's first over.

    England are in danger of making hard work of this.

    Credit: Getty
  • Kieran Davies

    Wicket – Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)

    The skipper bowls one right through Stokes' gate.

    He came down the track to drive and got it all wrong.

    The ball clipping off his pad on its way through to the stumps.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 62/2 (10 overs)

    Solid over from Rashid with only three runs coming from it.

    At the halfway stage of their innings England are on course to reach the target set by the Afghans.

    They would have hoped to be heading to it at a quicker run rate than they are currently.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 59/2 (9 overs)

    That was a great catch from Fazal running in from the deep backward square boundary.

    Fareed ends the over disappointingly as his bouncer goes over both batsman and keeper for 4 runs.

    To make matters worse it was justifiably given as a wide also.

    Credit: Getty
  • Kieran Davies

    Wicket – Fareed Ahmad (Afghanistan)

    Hales looks to go big but can only find Fazal out deep.

    He does well to hold onto the ball running onto it.

    Much-needed wicket for Afghanistan.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 50/1 (8 overs)

    Mujeeb puts one in the slot and Malan plays a lovely drive over extra cover but the ball plus with no chance of reaching the boundary.

    With the Afghans having a lot of spin in their attack, Perth is probably the best venue to play against them.

    The additional bounce is allowing them to play off the back foot.

    Hales goes big and straight with the ball hit flat and hard but Nabi drops it on the rope.

    These are the chances you need to take with a small total to defend.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 44/1 (7 overs)

    Rashid Khan comes into the attack.

    Usually bowling at the death for the Afghans they cannot afford to keep him back today as they want to ensure he gets his 4 overs in.

    Four runs from his first over.

  • Kieran Davies

    England 40/1 (6 overs)

    England keep the scoreboard ticking over.

    Hales is 15 not out.

    Malan is off the mark with a single.

    Credit: Rex
  • Kieran Davies

    England 35/1 (5 overs)

    All was looking well for England until that catch.

    To be to Buttler he did very little wrong as he middled it.

    Just didn't catch it well enough and was caught on the boundary.

    Malan joins us in the middle.

  • Kieran Davies

    Wicket – Fazalhaq Farooqi (Afghanistan)

    Buttler hits one off his legs and middles it.

    Not enough to clear the man on the boundary rope however.

    Afghanistan needed that.

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