Cricket: Woeful England end World Cup with Afghan stroll

SYDNEY (AFP) - England's miserable World Cup ended with a comfortable nine-wicket win over Afghanistan in a rain-marred Pool A clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

Chasing a revised target of 101 to win in 25 overs under the Duckworth/Lewis method following three rain delays, England finished on 101 for one in 18.1 overs. Ian Bell was 52 not out, off 56 balls, after putting on 83 for the first wicket with Alex Hales, who made 37 after being dropped on nought and 12.

Afghanistan, after losing the toss, earlier made 111 for seven in 36.2 overs before their innings was ruled to be closed because of rain.

Both sides came into this first one-day international between England and Afghanistan unable to qualify for the quarter-finals and having just one previous Pool A win apiece after they each beat Scotland.

This was the first edition of the World Cup in the tournament's 40-year history where England had failed both to beat a Test nation and get through to the second round.

In 1996, England defeated two non-Test sides in the UAE and the Netherlands before losing to Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals.

Hopes they might finish with a win over World Cup debutants Afghanistan, after their last-eight ambitions crumbled in Monday's 15-run defeat by Bangladesh in Adelaide, were high as the non-Test side collapsed after losing the toss.

No Afghanistan batsman made more than the recalled Shafiqullah Shafiq's 30.

Chris Jordan led England's attack with two for 13 in 6.2 overs while all-rounder Ravi Bopara, playing his first match of the tournament after an injury to Chris Woakes, took two for 31 in eight overs.

"It's important to realise we haven't clicked this tournament. It has been challenging, I have learnt a lot about myself and about the players," said England skipper Eoin Morgan.

Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi said his team will keep learning.

"We have learned a lot - we have played against full members and seen how they play, how can they build pressure," he said.

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