Broad - Just one Luke
England captain Stuart Broad saluted Luke Wright after his 99 not out set the platform for a 116-run win over Afghanistan at the World T20.
Last Updated: 21/09/12 8:25pm
England captain Stuart Broad saluted Luke Wright after his 99 not out set the platform for a 116-run win over Afghanistan at the World Twenty20.
The defending champions piled up 196-5 and then bowled Afghanistan out for 80 in Colombo.
"We batted with maturity on a wicket we expected to play a little better for the batsmen actually," Broad told Sky Sports.
"Luke Wright's innings was outstanding and the way the guys struck the ball towards the end was very powerful and exciting to see."
A late flurry from Gulbodin Naib, who scored a rapid unbeaten 44, ensured Afghanistan avoided total humiliation, having at one stage been 26-8.
"They got a couple of runs towards the end, that's to be expected in Twenty20 cricket," Broad said.
"But we're delighted with that performance. It's a great way to start the tournament. Hopefully we can kick on as well."
Wright has been the beneficiary of Ravi Bopara's poor run of form and his innings should cement his place in the England side.
Broad added: "It'll do his confidence the world of good.
"He showed a huge amount of maturity. I think he's developed as a cricketer over the last couple of years.
"He's played all around the world and that experience showed today.
"It was a match-winning knock and hugely exciting for the crowd to watch as well."
England are now assured of a place in the Super Eight stages, irrespective of how they fare on Sunday against India - who have also qualified after their own opening Group A victory over Afghanistan.
Broad stressed there would be no letting up from England though, with the captain keen to build momentum.
He said: "I think it's hard to call any international game a dead game.
"We'll all be fired up and wanting a win. That's the only attitude we'll take when we cross that line."
Wright savoured his innings, even if he was just short of becoming the first England player to score a century in Twenty20 internationals.
"It was a bit of a special evening. It's something that I've wanted to do," he said.
"I was desperate to get back in and try to win games for England."
He believes he has ironed out some creases in his game, and is no longer looking to hit the ball so hard, so often.
Wright added: "It's now about proving I'm a better player and fingers crossed I can do that in the rest of the tournament."
The match had started positively for Afghanistan when Shapoor Zadran removed Craig Kieswetter for a duck during a wicket-maiden.
But that was the high point for the associate nation and Zadran admits the tournament has been a reality check.
"We had lots of lapses in fielding and we have to rectify that as soon as possible if we want to compete on this stage against tough opponents," he said.
"Against champion sides, you have to be perfect in all three departments."