England v Afghanistan: Morgan warns against complacency versus bottom side

By Brendan McLoughlin 17 June 2019 289
England v Afghanistan: Morgan warns against complacency versus bottom side

England will be without opener Jason Roy for Tuesday's Cricket World Cup duel with Afghanistan, but the hosts will remain confident they can boost their semi-final hopes at Old Trafford.

Eoin Morgan's side have made a purposeful start to the tournament on home soil and demonstrated why they top the ICC ODI rankings in Friday's eight-wicket thrashing of West Indies.

It is in stark contrast to the fortunes of their next opponents, who are languishing at the foot of the table without a point from their opening four matches.

After previous concerns over the likes of Jos Buttler and Mark Wood, managing injuries has been England's biggest obstacle.

While Morgan expects to shake off the back problem which forced him off against West Indies, Roy has been ruled out for the next two matches with a hamstring tear and his place will be taken by James Vince.

England coped with those setbacks to deliver a dominant victory against a dangerous opponent, showing the flexibility at their disposal. They will be confident of achieving a similar outcome in Manchester.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

It has been an impressive start from England, winning three of their opening four matches with South Africa, Bangladesh and West Indies all dispatched. Anything but a place in the semi-finals would be a disappointment.

Afghanistan sit bottom and their task has been made more onerous following the loss during the tournament of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad. They did give Sri Lanka a scare in Cardiff, however, until eventually being beaten by 34 runs on the DLS method.

WHAT THEY SAID

England skipper Morgan: "I would like to think in a couple of games so far we've been red hot favourites and underlining our preparation is the humility and the gratitude with which we go about things, and that's an important part of trying to beat teams like Afghanistan. They are a strong side. I said previous to the tournament, they will beat teams in this World Cup. They haven't managed to do that yet. So that makes it a tougher challenge."

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: "We are trying to do our best in the matches, but if I look at my team, I didn't like how we played last time [in the nine-wicket defeat to South Africa]. England is a strong side, it's a home side, so everything is on England's side. Afghanistan don't play home cricket a lot. We are used to it but it's a tough game."

OPTA FACTS

- England and Afghanistan have met just once before in an ODI; that clash coming at the 2015 Cricket World Cup with England winning by nine wickets. 

- England have won eight of their last 10 ODIs at Old Trafford (L2), with their only defeats in that time coming against Australia.

- Moeen Ali has taken more ODI wickets at Old Trafford than any other spinner, with his eight scalps at the venue coming at an average of 13.5. 

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Brendan McLoughlin

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