England, New Zealand beat Twenty20 foes
Colombo, Sri Lanka (4E Sports) – Twenty20 defending champion England opened its title defense on an emphatic note, crushing Afghanistan by 116 runs behind Luke Wright’s 99 off 55 balls Friday at R. Premadasa Stadium.
Wright became the 12th batsman to register a score in the nineties in Twenty20 internationals and the second British to tally 99 since Alex Hales did it early in the year.
The 116-run win is the third-highest margin of victory in the Twenty20 internationals and the highest ever for England. The top three victory margins in terms of runs have come in World Twenty20 matches.
Afghanistan crashed out of the tournament after just making 80, the third-lowest total in World Twenty20 matches. The Afghans also scored 80 against South Africa in the 2010 edition of the event.
Samit Patel (2-6), Stuart Broad (2-10) and Greame Swann (2-22) led the way with two wickets apiece as England’s bowlers ran roughshod over Afghanistan despite a cameo appearance by Gulbodin Naib (44) towards the end of the innings.
Meanwhile, Brendan McCullum broke several Twenty20 international records in leading New Zealand to a 59-run win over Bangladesh in the Group D opener in Pallekele.
McCullum’s 123 off just 58 balls has set a new record for highest score in Twenty20 internationals, eclipsing Richard Levi’s 117 made earlier this year. He also became the first batsman to score two hundreds in this format.
With McCullum’s hot hitting, New Zealand overcame the early loss of Martin Guptil (11), who was dismissed by Abdur Razzak in the fourth over.
McCullum smashed two boundaries and a six off the bowling of Shafiul Islam in the 17th over before back to back fours in the penultimate over bowled by Elias Sunny to become the first person to score two t20 International centuries.