Cricket World Cup: England ease to consolation win. Bell's farewell?

ICC World Cup of Cricket

England made the most of the very English conditions on offer at the SCG to avoid further embarrassment at the World Cup.

They eased to their Duckworth-Lewis-adjusted target of 101 in 18.1 overs to win by nine wickets against Afghanistan after their bowlers had made the most of the overcast conditions.

England won an important toss and set about the fragile Afghan batting. James Anderson and Stuart Broad made the most of the new ball by dismissing an opener apiece, while Chris Jordan, Ravi Bopara and James Tredwell collected five wickets between them in between the rain delays.

Jordan was particularly impressive and picked up two for 13 to go with his two for 59 against Bangladesh. He can be relatively satisfied with the tournament from a personal level, but the same can't, of course, be said for most of the rest.

Alex Hales looked a little skittish in the run chase and was dropped while making 37 off 33 balls. He will surely have a part to play in England's ODI future, but whether the same can be said of his opening partner Ian Bell is open to debate.

Bell usually looks assured at the crease and was today in making an unbeaten 52 off 56 balls. However, at 32 years of age and with a career strike rate of 77 and only four hundreds from 161 matches it may be time to look to the future. He will be 37 at the next World Cup and may now look, or be asked, to concentrate on Tests.

England name their squad for their next assignment - a Test tour of the West Indies which begins next month - on Tuesday and one of the talking points, beside the fitness of Moeen Ali, will be whether James Anderson or Stuart Broad will be rested and allowed to find form on the county circuit ahead of the summer Tests against New Zealand and Australia.

As for Afghanistan, they have had a solid maiden World Cup, notching the expected first win against Scotland. While their bowling is certainly up to standard and probably the best from the associates on show in this tournament, the batting remains a concern. However, there is hope for the future - their Under-19 team has shown promise in recent times - and they just need more fixtures against top teams if they are to progress. Due to unrest in their country, they play their 'home' games in the UAE like Pakistan and are desperate for other teams to play them when they tour the region.

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