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2023 ODI World Cup digest: Afghanistan pull off historic victory; Australia’s hopes on a knife edge


2023 ODI World Cup digest: Afghanistan pull off historic victory; Australia’s hopes on a knife edge


The Men’s 2023 ODI World Cup is underway in India and runs from October 5 until November 19. Each morning we will round up the latest action and news from the event and bring you the insights from our reporters on the ground.

Top Story: The Great Upset – Afghanistan bring World Cup to life with England conquest

Afghanistan 284 (Gurbaz 80, Alikhil 58, Adil Rashid 3-42) beat England 215 (Brook 66, Rashid Khan 3-37, Mujeeb 3-51) by 69 runs

Afghanistan claimed the most famous scalp of their international history, and in the process provided the first big shock of the 2023 World Cup, by routing England’s world champions by 69 runs in a spin-and-seam masterclass under the Delhi floodlights.

Their dominance was set in motion by a fearless display of power-hitting from the 21-year-old Rahmanullah Gurbaz, whose 80 from 57 had promised so much more until a run-out sawed him off in his prime. But Ikram Alikhil marshalled Afghanistan’s lower-order with a precious half-century in his first game of this year’s World Cup, whereupon they set about making a target of 285 seem as dim and distant as England’s hopes of defending their title must now feel.

Match analysis: Forget Bazball, this was Gurbazball

The ball skidded past Mark Wood’s bat and into the stumps, and Rashid Khan stood with his arms outstretched, arching his back and facing the night sky. It was a moment to savour, one which will reverberate across Delhi, India and far beyond: Afghanistan had not only beaten the world champions, but thrashed them.

This was the performance of a team with no fear or inhibition, attacking first with the bat and then with the ball. Afghanistan had won once in their 17 previous World Cup matches, a one-wicket victory over Scotland eight years ago: they were a team with nothing to lose, who gained everything.

Amid political turmoil and humanitarian crises, India has become a home away from home for Afghanistan. This, their most famous night as a sporting nation, came in front of over 25,000 fans in a city with a substantial Afghan diaspora. Many of them waved Afghanistan flags and danced along as Afghan Jalebi played over the PA system.

England have been on the wrong end of some big upsets in ICC events and have been shocked once again in this World Cup, by Afghanistan in Delhi. Which of these defeats was the most surprising? Click here to vote

Must Watch: Aaron Finch on Pat Cummins

News headlines

Match preview

Australia vs Sri Lanka, Lucknow (2pm IST; 8.30am GMT; 7.30pm AEST)

Even in a tournament with nine group-stage matches which allows room for a slip up or two, you don’t want to be 0-3 early in the competition. But that’s exactly the situation which will confront one of Australia and Sri Lanka after they face off in Lucknow in what already shapes as a contest to retain realistic semi-final hopes. It has been a tough start for both sides, but two points in this fixture will revive belief that they can still challenge for the top four.

Team news

Australia (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Mitchell Marsh, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Josh Inglis (wk), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins (capt), 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Perera, 3 Kusal Mendis (capt, wk), 4 Sadeera Samarawickrama, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Dunith Wellalage, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Kasun Rajitha, 11 Dilshan Madushanka

Feature: Tired and tested – Australia’s challenges at this World Cup

It’s no doubt a view coloured by recent results and the mediaperson’s tendency to hanker for shiny new things to talk about, but there’s a definite jadedness to Australia’s ODI set-up. Where some other teams – India, for instance – have torn up their ODI template and started over more than once over the last two World Cup cycles, Australia continue to play the way they’ve always played. They have an explosive line-up buttressed by a pair of busy anchors, and they trust in their best – which usually translates to Test – fast bowlers no matter what the conditions are.


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