England will play Afghanistan in the opening game for both teams in Group One of the Super 12 stage of this year’s T20I World Cup. The match will be played at the Perth Stadium. The two sides are in the same group as Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and one other side, the identity of which will be known once the first group stage is concluded. The fact that the match is being staged in Perth potentially means that it could avoid the worst of the weather that is affecting other parts of Australia at present.
- Match: Super 12 – Match 2
- Event: ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022
- Venue: Perth Stadium, Perth
About the Match 2, Super 12
England have contested every T20I World Cup that has been played, and won the tournament in 2009 when it was staged in the Middle East.
Seven years later they seemed on the verge of winning it again when India were the hosts, only to be denied by the West Indies, with Carlos Brathwaite hitting the first four balls of the final over for six.
Arguably they were the strongest team in last year’s World Cup but were knocked out at the semi-final stage by New Zealand.
They have suffered an injury blow ahead of this match. Fast bowler Reece Topley suffered ankle ligament damage playing in a warm-up match, and has been replaced in the squad by Tymal Mills, who had already travelled with the rest of the team to Australia as a reserve.
Afghanistan made their first appearance at a World Cup in 2010, having played their first ever match in the format earlier that year. It took them until 2014 before they won their first ever match in the competition, but they had to wait two more years for them to reach the Super 12 stage (as it was then) where they shocked the eventual champions before bowing out of the competition.
This time, for the first time ever, they have qualified for the Super 12 Stage automatically, for the first time ever.
At the start of June, Eoin Morgan, who had been their white ball captain for a number of years, and who had skippered them to success in the longer form of the World Cup, retired from international cricket and Jos Buttler took over from him.
Initially the team struggled and lost a home series to South Africa, but, on their first visit to Pakistan in 17 years, came from behind to win a seven match series.
Even more impressive was the way that they beat Australia not once, but twice in front of their home fans and were on their way to a series whitewash in Canberra before the rain intervened.
Their one World Cup warm-up match was against Pakistan, and again they came out on top in Brisbane, winning by six wickets in another match affected by rain.
With Buttler now back in the side having been forced to sit out the Pakistan tour with injury, and Ben Stokes reintegrated into the team, they will be hoping to justify their status as one of the pre-competition favourites.
Results in recent months have fluctuated. Zimbabwe were beaten comprehensively, but they were on the wrong end of a series loss to Ireland, beaten by the odd match in five.
At the Asia Cup in the Middle East, they began the tournament in fine style, beating Sri Lanka, who went on to winning the competition, and finishing top of a group that also included Bangladesh.
But they fared less well in the knock-out stages and failed to win a game.
They continued their dominance over Bangladesh in their first warm-up match in Brisbane, but their second against Pakistan had to be abandoned when the game began to fall during the Pakistan reply to their score of 154/6.
England v Afghanistan Head to Head
The two teams have played each other just twice before in T2OI cricket, England winning both of them. Their first meeting came in the 2016 World Cup in Delhi, with India winning by 15 runs. Their second match was at The Oval in 2019, the home side winning by nine wickets on that occasion.
England v Afghanistan ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 Betting Odds
England v Afghanistan, Super 12 – Match 2, Betting Tip
England will go into this match as short priced favourites, but they would do well not to underestimate the Afghans, who, on their day, can be a dangerous side. They will also be aware that there are no easy games in a competition like this. At the same time, if they can play anywhere near their best, then they can be hopeful of getting their campaign off to a winning start.