England went down to a 21-run defeat against Afghanistan in their final warm-up match ahead of the U19 World Cup in South Africa.
George Balderson’s side were unable to chase down their target of 206 at Hammanskraal, losing wickets regularly as they were bowled out for 184 in the 48th over.
Afghanistan – who get the tournament under way on Friday when they take on the Proteas, live on Sky Sports Mix – opted to bat after winning the toss and, having initially struggled against the England bowling, led by seamer Blake Cullen (3-25), they eventually posted 205-8.
S Africa U19 vs Afghanistan U19
January 17, 2020, 7:45am
Cullen, Lewis Goldsworthy (1-20), Hamidullah Qadri (1-21) and George Hill (1-19) all struck as Afghanistan stumbled to 59-4 just before the halfway stage of their innings.
However, they were rescued by Abdul Rahman, who top scored with 54 from 81 deliveries as he shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 70 with Asif Musazai before both fell in quick succession.
But England’s hopes of restricting their opponents to a sub-200 total were dashed by wicketkeeper Mohammad Ishaq, who struck an unbeaten 43, and Abid Mohammadi (26), who added 63 from the last seven overs.
Those runs would prove crucial and England were unable to gain much traction during their reply, with several of their batsmen failing to build on promising starts.
Ben Charlesworth hit 26 and Jordan Cox 20 before Jack Haynes (29) and Goldsworthy (13) put together a partnership of 39 – which proved to be the highest of the England innings.
But the pair departed in successive deliveries and, although Joey Evison’s knock of 37 from 46 balls kept England’s hopes alive, they continued to lose wickets at the other end.
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