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England start with resounding World Cup win

England began their defence of the Twenty20 World Cup with a resounding victory over Afghanistan. Luke Wright was the prime mover in England’s performance, hammering a spectacular 99 not out off Afghanistan bowling that started tidily but lost its discipline very quickly.

England’s innings had got off to a very nervous start with a wicket maiden in the first over, Craig Kieswetter going for a duck. Luke Wright restored a little composure to the batting with some well-timed boundaries before cutting loose and ending one run short of a century. His eight fours and six sixes formed the backbone of England’s recovery to post a total of 196, and showed England have plenty of batting options even without Kevin Pietersen.

Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach made early inroads with wickets in the first two overs of Afghanistan’s innings. England were ruthless in the field and dominant with their bowling, dismissing the Afghans for 80 within 18 overs.

Wright was pleased with his performance and with England’s comprehensive victory. "It was a bit of a varied bounce," he said, "but Alex Hales got off to a good start and I came to bat around him at first. Then we managed to go at the spinners a bit. One of our plans is to have one batter go through to the end and others bat around him. We managed to achieve that today."

England face India in their next match but are already assured of advancing to the Super Eights stage where the competition will get much fiercer.

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