England v Afghanistan warm-up: Jason Roy 89 not out in nine-wicket thrashing

Jason Roy hits a shot

England opener Jason Roy smacked an unbeaten 89 from 46 balls

England completed their World Cup preparations with a nine-wicket thrashing of Afghanistan at The Oval.

On the ground where they will open the tournament against South Africa on Thursday, the hosts dismissed Afghanistan for 160, then chased the target in only 17.3 overs.

At one stage Afghanistan found themselves 92-8 thanks to loose shots, poor running and the pace of Jofra Archer (3-32).

The hitting of Mohammad Nabi, who made 44 and added 33 for the last wicket with Dawlat Zadran, at least gave the noisy Afghan fans something to cheer.

But that was put in the shade by the incredible strokeplay of England openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy.

They added 77 at a rate of more than 10 an over before Bairstow was stumped off Nabi’s off-spin for 39.

Roy continued, bludgeoning his way to 89 not out from 46 balls, finishing a match that lasted just 56.1 overs with his fourth six.

It completed a day full of good news for England. Not only did the scan of Mark Wood’s left ankle confirm that he will be fit to face South Africa, but captain Eoin Morgan and spinner Adil Rashid returned after respective finger and shoulder injuries.

  • Wood fit to face South Africa

England bounce back

Little went right for England in Southampton on Saturday. Not only were they beaten by Australia, but at one point their injury list had grown to such an extent that coach Paul Collingwood was required to field.

Just as then, this game did not have one-day international status, but that is where the comparisons end.

England comprehensively outplayed admittedly inferior opposition and received a triple fitness boost.

Rashid bowled six overs, Morgan was fit to bat and Wood bowled on the outfield before the match began. Chris Woakes, who did not bowl against Australia, returned five overs of his own.

Overall, their pace bowling was hostile, their spinners tidy and their fielding sharp. When they came to chase, Roy peppered the boundary.

It was a performance entirely in keeping with a side that is top of the ODI rankings and will enter the World Cup as favourites to lift the trophy.

Archer pace leads England


Jofra Archer immediately put Afghanistan under pressure with a hostile opening spell

In a tournament where the bat is expected to dominate, bouncers may be a potent weapon.

England employed the tactic to good effect here, with the impressive Archer aggressively using the short ball and having Afghan openers Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran caught off miscues.

On the whole, Afghanistan’s batting was pedestrian, but they regularly gifted wickets through thoughtless strokes and sloppy running.

Joe Root picked up 3-22 with his part-time spin, including a brilliant reaction catch by Ben Stokes at slip to remove Rashid Khan.

By that point, Hashmatullah Shahidi was run out coming back for a second by Liam Plunkett’s throw from long leg and Najibullah Zadran suffered the same fate courtesy of deep point fielder Bairstow when attempting a third, as Afghanistan lost four wickets in eight balls.

Nabi flayed Moeen Ali for two sixes and Rashid for another as he first added 25 with Aftab Alam, then combined with Dawlat for the final-wicket entertainment.

When England wanted to wrap things up, they turned to Archer, who had Nabi held at third man.

England in a hurry


Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow put on 77 for the first wicket off just 44 balls

It was never likely that such a meagre target would trouble England, but Roy and Bairstow put any question of an upset away with the sort of hitting that has made them the most prolific opening pair in ODI cricket.

Yes, the Afghan bowling was loose and their fielding lacklustre, but that is to take nothing away from the brilliance of England’s batting.

Bairstow characteristically targeted the leg side as England’s hitting saw Afghanistan turn to spin after only three overs.

So dominant were England, it was a surprise when Bairstow stretched at Nabi, dragged his foot, and was out of his ground when the ball deflected back on to the stumps off wicketkeeper Rahmat Shah.

Roy, now in the company of Root, continued the assault. One of his sixes was an audacious scoop off the medium pace of Gulbadin Naib, another a mighty heave off leg-spinner Rashid that almost went out of the ground.

When he hit his fourth, a pull off Naib, it completed a run chase that lasted little more than an hour.


England (blue line) scored at an extremely rapid rate, while Afghanistan lost wickets on a regular basis

‘The World Cup can’t come soon enough’ – reaction

England opener Jason Roy: “I am feeling really good – I want the tournament to start now. It was a good preparation leading into Thursday. They [Afghanistan] have got a great line-up with their spin bowlers. I got used to Rashid Khan’s pace so was nice to get some time out there.

“We want to be doing this on Thursday and doing it throughout the whole tournament. The World Cup can’t come soon enough.”

England captain Eoin Morgan, speaking to Test Match Special: “It was ruthless. Coming into the game we were well aware of how dangerous and capable Afghanistan are but right from the opening over until the end we performed as well as we have done.

“Jason Roy seems to be riding his form beautifully and he’s enjoying it as well, which is extremely important. The way he and Jonny Bairstow play at the top of the order does rub off on the changing room. When those guys are in form it has a huge impact.

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: “We didn’t take responsibility with the bat at the start of the day. England bowled really well, so credit to the bowlers. The home conditions also made it difficult for us. But if you bat first, you have to put a good total on the board.

“We saw some tremendous cricket from England so we will learn from that, solve our mistakes in the batting and go from there.”