Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan. It doesn’t really matter who we play, we’re destined for defeat!
I’ve almost blotted out the ODI against Pakistan from my memory. Cancer survivor Tom Fell was amongst the debutants and in a sign of things to come, I think made somewhere between 10 and 20. Tom Curran was the standout performer with figures of 3-43 or something of that ilk.
Matt Coles also debuted and having accumulated 9 runs was the victim of the most appalling stumping decision ever. Let’s just watch about a thousand replays over the course of FIVE minutes that all confirm he’s not out then watch the big screen flash up with the word ‘OUT’!
Coles would go on to claim figures of 4-42 from 10 overs in the humbling 59-run defeat at the hands of Afghanistan. Those figures could have been even more impressive if it were not for our generous concession of overthrows.
Jamie Overton debuted against Afganistan and claimed his first ODI wicket in his very first over. He bowled a superb opening spell though the Afghans hounded him come the second powerplay later in the innings. Unfortunately, after having the visitors in trouble at 186-7, our composite fifth bowler of Adam Lyth, Brett D’Oliveira and Dawid Malan couldn’t stem the lower order flow of runs as Afghanistan recovered to post a competitive 282-7 from their 50 overs.
Debutants Lyth (10) and D’Oliveira (17) set the tone for the innings in that they made starts but got out. After captain Joe Root (6) fell cheaply, Tom Fell also fell after a busy 17. Liam Livingstone lasted all of one delivery but Dawid Malan looked to be heading towards a hard fought but determined maiden international half-century before missing a straight one having reached a career best 46. Malan (35) had also top scored against Pakistan but that inability to convert a solid platform into a score of substance runs deep into the grain of our team.
Another debutante, wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick, got giddy after hitting a boundary and was caught in the deep on 21. Liam Dawson (35 not out) and Matt Coles (29) took advantage of some strange field settings to put on 50 before Coles played an unnecessarily ambitious shot after we’d got the target down to less than a run a ball. To be fair to Afghanistan, the field setting that brought about the downfall of Coles deserves credit. Jamie Overton also took advantage of the Afghan spinners vacant leg-side field but having made 22 was needlessly run out. Tom Curran soon followed and that was that, 221 all out. If our top order batsman could have stayed in then they may have been able to cash in against Afghanistan’s strange fielding tactics late in the innings but in truth it was our poor bowling in the final 10 overs of Afghanistan’s innings and the lack of a genuine fifth bowling option that cost us. 16 overthrows didn’t help the cause either. 267 would have appeared a lot more attainable than 283.
Afghanistan deserved their victory. Three of their batsman passed 50 including the specialist that they had as low down as seven in the order.
Where we go from here I don’t know. Hopefully not Australia or India!