Poms unleash in absurd cricket carnage
IT may have only been a warm-up game against Afghanistan but England fired a brutal warning shot to the rest of the competition with a stunning win in their final hit-out before the World Cup.
The home side bowled out Afghanistan for 160 at The Oval - the venue for its tournament opener against South Africa on Thursday - before knocking the runs off in just 17.3 overs with a devastating batting display on Monday night (AEST).
Jason Roy smashed 11 boundaries and four sixes in an unbeaten 89 from 46 balls, while Jonny Bairstow (39) and Joe Root (29no) offered more than useful support.
Earlier, England was electric in the field, affecting two run outs. Ben Stokes claimed a fine catch at slip and some Bairstow brilliance on the boundary ended Afghanistan's innings after only 38.4 overs.
Initially it was Jofra Archer (3/32) that got England up and running, removing the explosive but reckless opener Hazratullah Zazai (11), and Rahmat Shah, to tame chips to mid-on. Noor Ali (30) briefly led the recovery before chopping Stokes (1/14) onto his stumps.
Part-time off-spinner Root (3/22) then entertained the crowd, claiming three wickets in a six-over spell which included some experimental leg-spin.
Root first dismissed Asghar Afghan, holing out to long-on, before four Afghanistan wickets fell for four runs in little more than an over. Moeen Ali (1/42) picked up Gulbadin Naib, scattered among the run outs of Hashmatullah Shahidi and Najibullah Zadran, and Root's second scalp came when Rashid Khan was out for a first-ball duck as Stokes clung on to a sensational grab at slip.
Some lusty late blows by Mohammad Nabi (44) - striking three huge sixes - and Dawlat Zadran (20no) at least lifted Afghanistan up to beyond 100 but the cricket minnows fell far short of a competitive score, especially against England's blistering batting.