Archer helps spearhead warm-up win

LONDON,  CMC – Barbadian speedster Jofra Archer snatched three wickets as World Cup favourites England pummelled minnows Afghanistan by nine wickets in their final official warm-up match here yesterday.

The 24-year-old finished with three for 32 from 34 balls after being handed the new ball, a spell which helped undermine the Phil Simmons-coached Afghan side for a paltry 160 in the 39th over.

Mohammad Nabi, batting at number eight, top-scored with a counter-attacking 44 from 42 deliveries while opener Noor Ali Zadran chipped in with 30.

Part-time off-spinner Joe Root picked up three for 22 from six overs as Afghanistan slumped to 92 for eight in the at the 25th over and never recovered.

In reply, Jason Roy set the Oval alight with an entertaining 46-ball unbeaten 89 as England raced to their target off 17.3 overs.

Roy belted 11 fours and four sixes, putting on 77 for the first wicket with Jonny Bairstow who made 39 from 22 deliveries, before adding a further 84 for the second with Root, unbeaten on 29 at the end.

Opting to bowl first, England grabbed early wickets through Archer who claimed dangerous opener Hazratullah Zazai for 11 in the third over and Rahmat Shaw for three, two overs later.

Archer returned in his second spell to take the final wicket of the innings when he had Nabi brilliantly taken on the third man ropes by Bairstow.

Archer was a late call up to England’s World Cup side after being ignored in the preliminary 15-man squad. He only made his England debut earlier this month and managed to impress in three One-Day Internationals with his pace and aggression.

Born and raised in Barbados, Archer holds a British passport through his father, and became eligible to play for England last March after the England and Wales Cricket Board reduced its residency period from seven years to three.

He represented West Indies Under-19s six years ago before turning his attention to playing for England.

Archer is expected to feature when England raise the curtain on the World Cup with a clash against South Africa at the Oval on Thursday.

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