Mark Wood bowls fastest spell in T20 World Cup history to set up England win

Three Lions defeat Afghanistan by five wickets in their tournament opener on Saturday

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England fast bowler Mark Wood sent a warning to all batsmen at the T20 World Cup in his first outing on Saturday as his fiery spell helped England defeat Afghanistan by five wickets.

Left-arm seamer Sam Curran's breathtaking five-wicket haul and some spectacular fielding led England to victory in their opening match in Perth.

Curran returned figures of 5-10 - the first England bowler to take five wickets in a T20 - to send Afghanistan packing for 112 in 19.4 overs.

England achieved their target in 18.1 overs, but only after the Afghanistan bowlers proved a point by picking five wickets.

However, the match will remembered for Wood's spell. The right arm quick did not bowl a single ball in his four overs below 140kph, and hit a top speed of 154 kph (96mph). Wood averaged 92.6mph - the fastest four-over spell in the tournament's history.

"Fantastic win for us, great way to start," man-of-the-match Curran said.

"Obviously we knew that Afghanistan were going to be that type of a side that we are going to have to scrap really hard for those runs in that chase. As a bowling group we bowled really well. We used the surface to our advantage. Most importantly we got the win."

In what was a sedate powerplay of 35-1 for Afghanistan, opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the first to depart, caught behind for 10 during a fiery opening spell by Wood (2-23).

England's bowlers continued to cramp the batsmen during the middle overs, aided by spectacular fielding by Liam Livingstone and Adil Rashid who held on to running catches off Ben Stokes (2-19) to send Hazrat Zazai (seven) and Najibullah Zadran (13) on their way.

Before Curran cleaned up the tail, captain-keeper Jos Buttler joined in on the acrobatic act, completing a flying one-handed catch after captain Mohammad Nabi tickled Wood down the leg-side on three.

In reply, England lost openers Buttler (18) and Alex Hales (19) after a quick start, but Afghanistan's fielders didn't take their catches quite like their opponents did. Hales was dropped twice on four and 17.

"I would have liked less dropped catches, less fumbles, less mis-fields if possible," Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott said.

"I thought the way we bowled, the spinners were really, really good. And so there is something to take away from the game, but we need a few more extra wins."

Updated: October 22, 2022, 3:51 PM
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