Englandended their dismal World Cup campaign with a low-profile nine-wicket victoryagainst Afghanistan in the rain-sodden Sydney Cricket Ground.

The matchwas affected by the poor weather conditions; the Three Lions have won the tossand elected to bowl first. England’s seamers managed to get throughAfghanistan’s top order batsmen quickly, under the cloud cover. James Anderson and Stuart Broad had catchesheld at first slip from the openers Nawroz Mangal and Javed Ahmadi, beforeChris Jordan enticed Afsar Zazai to edge to Jos Buttler and Samiullah Shenwaricut a shot to point.

Afghanistanwere in trouble with the score 34-4 from 16 overs, but the middle ordersteadied the ship without scoring big and threatening England’s attack.   Shafiquallahwas the new man in and he applied himself to score 30 runs. He partnered Nasir Jamal Ahmadzai and MohammadNabi, who also gave their best to reach 60, before being caught behind by thewicket-keeper.   Afghanistan reached 111-7 from 36.2 overs, before theweather worsened and put a stop on their innings.

The weathermeant that England’s total to chase was only 101 from 25 overs, which was anachievable target. Ian Bell’s solid half-century knock of 52 unbeaten meantthat England finished the match with 41 ball to spare. It was ironic that inthis match the Lions produced some of the qualities that they were missing intheir previous matches.

With thiswin, England finished in fifth place in Pool A, having only beaten Scotland andAfghanistan in their six group matches at the World Cup.

Their two wins meant that they matched theirjoint-worst performance at a World Cup, the total of two wins was the same asthe 1996 World Cup - where they at least reached the quarter-finals. England will need to rethink and review thegame going forward.

Afghanistanfinished one place and one win behind England in Pool A, in their first WorldCup in history. They have learnt from experience and have improved ascricketers; the Afghani fans were obviously pleased and cheered their team allthe way.

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