After another trip to the cinema on a rainy day the morning of my second visit to Old Trafford saw the sun in the sky! The Afghanistan fans definitely brought the colour.

I survived the climb to my seat and have an amazing view of Manchester and it’s surrounds! Including the Pennines, which are there to keep the people from Yorkshire out according to my neighbour! 🙂

Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bat, which would hopefully mean runs! James Vince opened with Jonny Bairstow in the absence of Jason Roy. This was his chance to go big, rather than make 30 or 40 beautiful runs then be out. Bairstow was challenged by spin, but England were 32 for no wicket after 7 overs. James Vince was given a life by Nabi, who really should’ve caught him.

However Vince didn’t survive the next catch, Mujeeb took it from the bowling of Dawlak, gone for 26, he flattered to deceive again! England were 44 for 1 in the 10th over.

Happily the Pennines didn’t keep Bairstow and Joe Root Out, that wicket saw 2 Yorkshireman at the crease.

Nabi came on at the Jimmy Anderson end, he should have challenged both batsmen. However Bairstow brought England’s 50 up with a lovely Four. A Four for Root and a few quick singles saw 11 scored from Nabi’s first over. England moved to 92 for 1 after 18 overs. Bairstow with 43 from 56 balls and Root 21 from 21 balls. Afghanistan didn’t cover themselves in glory in the field, a Mis field took Bairstow to his 50 from 61 balls.

I listened to TMS as I always do and noted that Aggers has turned fielders into fieldsmen, so Batsmen are now batters and fielders, fieldsmen, weird!

Jonny Bairstow lifted his strike rate, heading for his century he was maybe tricked by a ball from captain Gulbadin Naib who caught him, a great catch, hit at speed that must’ve hurt! Bairstow scored 90 from 99 balls and England were 164 for 2 with 20.2 overs remaining.

Eoin Morgan joined Root, and so a truly remarkable innings started. Offered up a free hit, he’s hit it for Six and followed it up with another! With 18 overs remaining England were 183 for 2. Root 49 from 53, Morgan 14 from 10.

Root brought his 50 up with a speedy single. Morgan followed it up with a Four from the first reverse sweep of the innings.

Morgan brought his 50 up with a huge Six, hit way into the party stand. He made 50 from 37 balls, some sign of intent. Morgan got Nabi for 2 huge Sixes, with the first banging into the media centre!

Rashid Khan looked in despair as D Zadran, dropped Morgan, who then hit the next ball for Six, then finished the over with another Six! England moved to 217 for 2 after 36 overs. Morgan was on 28 when he was dropped.

In beast mode, Morgan brought his 100 up in just 57 balls, he hit 11 Sixes, champagne cricket from the England captain. The 4th fastest World Cup Century. England’s 300 had come up in the 44th over, and Morgan reached the record for Sixes hit of 16!

Deep joy for Bangladesh as Root was Out for 88 from 82 balls, attempting a sweep he was caught by Rahmat b Naib. His innings facilitated Morgan’s as he provided a base and rotated strike so well. He was replaced by Jos Buttler.

Morgan exceeded that Sixes record, hitting his 17th Six, then, going for another was caught by Rahmat from the bowling of Naib, he scored a mighty 148, an incredible innings! That included 120 from 46 balls after he was dropped on 28.

Ben Stokes joined Buttler, England were 359 for 4 with 3 overs remaining. However the Afghanistan fans had something to shout about when Buttler was Out, caught Navi bowled Zadran for 2. England were 362 for 5.

Moeen Ali arrived, and hit Rashid for 2 straight Sixes, he bowled 9 overs and shipped 110 runs. Zadran followed up his Buttler wicket and bowled Stokes, a great ball, he was out for 2. Zadran took 3 for 66 in 9.1 overs, but he’s the man who dropped Morgan on 28!

England were 378 for 6, Moeen had power hitting on his mind and finished the innings with 31 from just 9 balls, it’s wonderful to see him in the runs! England finished their innings on 397.

With the horror of having dropped Morgan, Zadran opened the batting with Naib, sadly for him he was clean bowled by Joffra Archer! I was Typing this, not taking photos so missed that one!

Gulbadin Naib scored 37 From 28 Balls

Naib hit Archer for 2 huge Sixes, and moved onto 21 from 12 balls. Afghanistan were 28 for 1 in the 6th over. The captain carried on in the same vein, but was caught by Jos Buttler from the bowling of Mark Wood, he scored 37 from 28 balls. Afghanistan were 52 for 2 in the 12th over.

Jonny Bairstow was fielding out on the boundary as he often is, and spent a fair time doing his best to sign things for the children near him, he’s great that way.

Afghanistan moved to 75 for 2 in the 17th over. Things were a bit flat, with Afghanistan requiring 301 from 169 balls. Things were livened up by a pitch invader, he knocked the bails off at both ends before making a run for it. I hope his mates who encouraged him are prepared to help him pay the fine he’s sure to receive!

Adil Rashid came on and made things happen, Rahmat Shah lost his wicket, caught Bairstow for 46 from 74 balls. Afghanistan were 104 for 3 after 25.1 overs. More drama as Shahidi was hit hard on the head by a ball from Mark Wood, he was down for a while but was soon back to it.

We had some fireworks with Rashid going for some runs. Afghanistan moved to 153 for 3 in the 33rd over.

Hashmatullah Shahidi scored 76 From 100 Balls

Shahidi reached his 50 from 68 balls, he certainly didn’t appear to have suffered from his bang to the head. He and Asghar Afghan were having some batting practice at the cost of the England bowlers.

Rashid took a wicket at last, Afghan fell foul of his bowling, caught Root, he made 44 from 48 balls. That wicket was followed by a Six from Nabi, from his first ball! Afghanistan were 204 for 4 with 9 overs remaining

Nabi then skied a ball from Rashid, he didn’t get enough on it, it went high rather than long. A safe pair of hands in Ben Stokes was underneath, he was out for 9.

Afghanistan were 210 for 5 with 7.3 overs remaining.

Shahidi was beaten by an Archer ball, bails flying he was out for 76. He played a great innings, giving the Afghanistan fans something to shout about!

N Zadran fell to the same fate in the next over, bowled Chris Wood for 15. Afghanistan were 235 for 7 with 3.4 overs remaining. Afghanistan can hold their heads high, they batted out their 50 overs scoring 247 for the loss of 8 wickets. A win for England by 150 runs and a truly remarkable innings from their captain, that was one of those “I was There” days!

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