Afghanistan inflicted more misery on Pakistan ahead of the Cricket World Cup with a surprise three-wicket victory on Friday.

Pakistan were in need of a lift after being thumped 4-0 in the one-day international series with England, but Afghanistan capitalised on their shortcomings in Bristol.

Babar Azam maintained his outstanding form with 112 from 108 balls as the ICC Champions Trophy holders posted 262 all out, Mohammad Nabi taking 3-46.

Dawlat Zadran and Rashid Khan took two wickets apiece, with only Shoaib Malik (44) offering any notable support for Babar - who scored a century and passed 50 twice in the series defeat to World Cup hosts England.

Hashmatullah Shahidi steered Afghanistan to victory with an unbeaten 74 after Hazratullah Zazai made 49, with 3-46 from Wahab Riaz proving to be in vain.

Shaheen Afridi (0-51 from six overs) was expensive on another bad day at the office for Pakistan a week before they face West Indies in their World Cup opener.

South Africa thrashed Sri Lanka by 87 runs in the other warm-up game of the day in Cardiff, captain Faf du Plessis top scoring with a rapid 88 in the Proteas' 338-7.

Sri Lanka were dismissed for 251 in reply, Andile Phehlukwayo the pick of the bowlers with 4-36. Dimuth Karunaratne (87) and Angelo Mathews (64) made half-centuries, while Avishka Fernando had to be taken off on a stretcher after appearing to suffer an ankle injury while fielding.

 

England were hit by an injury scare ahead of the Cricket World Cup with captain Eoin Morgan suffering a finger injury in training on Friday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed Morgan, who is set to lead England in the upcoming tournament on home soil, was sent for an x-ray after taking a blow to the hand.

The 32-year-old batsman hurt the index finger on his left hand during fielding drills at the Rose Bowl ahead of Saturday's warm-up fixture against Australia.

"Eoin Morgan has took a knock to his left index finger fielding this morning. He is going to hospital after practice for a precautionary x-ray," an ECB statement read.

England start their World Cup campaign at The Oval against South Africa on Thursday.

Ben Stokes says England may be the top-ranked ODI team in the world but there is no margin for error if they want to achieve their ultimate goal of winning the Cricket World Cup.

Host nation England are the ICC's number one team as they approach the upcoming tournament, looking to claim the trophy for the very first time.

But Stokes warned that unlike in longer series' where defeats can be rectified, England cannot afford any slip ups.

"All the nations come together over a certain period and whichever team performs best over that time gets to lift the trophy," he told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Red Bull. "You want to be that team.

"It's not a series, where you can win 3-2. You have to make sure that you're the best team on every day and I think it shows which teams are the best.

"You look at Australia, when they won three in a row [in 1999, 2003 and 2007], they were an unbelievable team. They always won the World Cups because they were the best team.

"I think that's the best thing about it - it puts a big split between the top teams and the lower teams."

After the World Cup, England's Test team will host Australia in the Ashes before head coach Trevor Bayliss departs when his contract expires in September.

And Stokes paid tribute to Bayliss for his work in improving the approach of England's ODI cricket.

"I think he's been brilliant for the one-day team," Stokes said. "He's come in and changed our ethos and thinking towards it.

"He's given us a lot of confidence and he just lets us drive the team forward really with how we want to play.

"Eoin Morgan has also done a great job with that, as our leader and captain, but [Bayliss] has been very, very influential over the last four years."

England begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa at The Oval on May 30.

India captain Virat Kohli believes the upcoming Cricket World Cup will be the most challenging he has played in.

The tournament in England starts next week, with India going into the event second in the ICC's one-day international rankings behind only the hosts.

In Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah they also have the world's number one batsman and bowler in the 50-over format, but for the skipper every game represents a significant obstacle due to the depth of quality in the competition.

And the fact all 10 teams will play each other once as the World Cup reverts to the same format it used back in 1992 has Kohli on guard.

"It is probably the most challenging World Cup of all the three that I have been part of because of the format and looking at the strength of the all the sides as well," Kohli said in Mumbai before his team travelled to England.

"If we live up to our skill sets and our standards that we set for ourselves, we'll be on the right side of the result more often. That is going to be key. Every game you have to play to the best of your potential because it's not a group stage anymore, it's playing everyone once.

"The best thing is that we'll have four tough games straight up and that will set the tone nicely for us. Everyone has to be at their best intensity from the first match onwards and we don't have any room for complacency.

"It's the World Cup, the most important tournament in the world. We expect that kind of pressure from the first second."

Kohli, 30, believes handling pressure will be a bigger challenge than tackling the conditions.

"White-ball cricket, playing in England, playing an ICC tournament, the conditions are not that different or that difficult I would say, compared to Test cricket," he said.

"Pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup and not necessarily the conditions. From that point of view, it will be helpful. 

"We go into the World Cup feeling very balanced and very strong as a side. You saw in the IPL as well, all the players that are in the squad were in great form and played really well.

"We expect high-scoring games, but a bilateral series compared to a World Cup is very different.

"You might see a lot of, I won't say low-scoring games, but 260-270 kind of games, teams getting those totals and defending it successfully because of the pressure factor. We expect all kinds of scenarios at the World Cup - there will be quite a few high-scoring games too."

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur is convinced his side can shine at the Cricket World Cup, even though they will head into the tournament on the back of 10 successive ODI losses.

A 54-run defeat at Headingley on Sunday condemned Pakistan to a 4-0 series reverse at the hands of England, the World Cup hosts.

However, Arthur was determined to remain upbeat after seeing his side post scores of 361-7, 358-9, 340-7 and 297, only to be out-gunned by a prolific home batting line-up.

"We sit here having taken a huge amount of positives out of this series," said Arthur. "I thought we batted extremely well. Our bowling has been average at best and our fielding has been average at best but we've batted fairly well.

"The other thing is we've played against a team who are number one in the world in their own conditions. I know there's not too many teams who will arrive in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we've played against and match fitness.

"We've got a couple of days now to regroup, two warm-up games and then we'll go. I'm very, very confident with the players we've got. We need to sharpen up on a couple of disciplines but we'll certainly get there. We'll be good."

Asked to outline his expectations for the World Cup, Arthur added: "All I know is that the players are very, very determined to do well. Every time they go out there they play for 210 million people.

"We all take defeat in a disappointing way, as our supporter base do. The players are good. Come the first game against the West Indies [on May 31], we'll be ready. I'm as confident that we'll do well as I've ever been."

Arthur, who confirmed paceman Mohammad Amir is available for World Cup selection after missing the England series through illness, acknowledged Pakistan have to improve significantly in the field.

"It's been very disappointing. I think that's been the massive difference between the two sides," he added.

"That's a real worry for me because we are putting a hell of a lot of effort into it and there's not a massive amount of reward for us there at the moment. We'll just keep knocking away at it though, just to make sure we get it up to speed.

"Fielding is about attitude and wanting to get out there and get it done. Our boys' attitude has been outstanding through this series and for the years before. They know where they are short, they know they've been short in this department and they are not happy about it. They are working damn hard at it."

Chris Woakes acknowledged a nervy Monday lies ahead for England's Cricket World Cup hopefuls as they await confirmation of who has made the final squad for the tournament on home soil.

Woakes appears a certainty to be selected given his consistently impressive performances in one-day internationals, the latest of which saw him return 5-54 at Headingley to help Eoin Morgan's men to a 54-run victory over Pakistan and a 4-0 series triumph.

Yet competition for places, particularly in England's bowling ranks, is fierce and the likes of David Willey, Tom Curran and Joe Denly seem to be among those most at risk of losing out with Jofra Archer anticipated to be picked.

The squad will be announced on Tuesday, with each player likely to discover their fate the day before it is made public.

"Everyone will be looking at their phones tomorrow [Monday], I suppose, if that's when we find out," said Woakes in a news conference following his man-of-the-match display in Leeds. "Everyone will be wary of that phone call.

"Even if you feel like you've got a good chance to be in the squad, until you hear it from the selectors' mouths, it's not quite set in stone.

"As a player you're still probably a little bit on edge, in particular with this 16 and 17 players because everyone has performed at some point over the series [against Pakistan]. 

"In the last couple of years people have put in strong performances. It's a tricky decision for selectors and I'm glad I'm not having to make that decision. It has to be done, I suppose."

Woakes, who acknowledged the timing of his impressive display on Sunday was "pretty nice", believes England's strength in depth has raised performance levels.

"It's certainly driven everyone forward to try and improve, to make sure they're on top of their game, to make sure they tick everything off in practice," he added.

"Whenever you get the opportunity to bowl in practice, or bat or field, you constantly feel ... not like you're on audition, but like it's an opportunity to show your skills.

"It's certainly driven everyone to try and improve and it's certainly showed in our performances over the series."

Chris Woakes claimed a fabulous five-wicket haul as England wrapped up a 4-0 series victory over Pakistan with a 54-run triumph in the fifth and final ODI at Headingley.

Home skipper Eoin Morgan opted to bat first - in preparation for losing a toss at the upcoming Cricket World Cup - and then provided one of two substantial contributions to a total of 351-9, scoring 76 from 64 balls as Joe Root hit 84 off 73.

Woakes then undermined Pakistan's reply by taking three wickets in his first two overs, which were both maidens, and finishing with 5-54 to underline his value with the World Cup looming.

The tourists will head into the global showpiece having lost 10 ODIs in a row. They were dismissed for 297 in 46.5 overs on Sunday, despite 97 from captain Sarfraz Ahmed and a typically stylish 80 from Babar Azam.

Pakistan's top scorers were both run out, Babar thanks to an eye-catching piece of work from Adil Rashid, who produced another moment of magic to catch Shoaib Malik off his own bowling.

Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood were all rested, suggesting the trio have done enough to earn places in England's final World Cup squad, to be announced on Tuesday.

Woakes also appears a certainty to be selected given his consistently strong performances in recent years and he made a spectacular start to his opening spell, having Fakhar Zaman caught at second slip before Abid Ali and Mohammad Hafeez were both trapped lbw to leave Pakistan 6-3.

An enjoyable stand of 146 between Babar and Sarfraz brought Pakistan back into the contest, only for the former to be brilliantly run out when Rashid flicked the ball onto the stumps at the non-striker's end without looking from Jos Buttler's throw.

England continued to excel in the field and Rashid's one-handed return catch to dismiss Shoaib was followed by Buttler reacting sharply to deny Sarfraz a hundred. England's wicketkeeper stuck out his boot to stop a late cut before striking the stumps with Sarfraz's bat inside the crease but not grounded.

That breakthrough all but ended Pakistan's hopes of a successful chase and Woakes returned to claim two more scalps before a 10th-wicket stand of 47 between Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain delayed the inevitable.

England's total owed much to the work of Root and Morgan, who put on 117 for the third wicket after openers James Vince (33) and Jonny Bairstow (32) had departed. 

A second batting collapse in as many matches followed but Tom Curran provided a degree of momentum in the closing overs, following up his crucial 31 at Trent Bridge with 29 not out from 15 balls.

Curran and Willey could well be battling it out for one slot in England's World Cup squad, but neither could make a notable impression with the ball, returning respective figures of 0-40 from six overs and 1-55 from nine.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed delivered mixed news on the injury front and acknowledged his side need to improve their fielding after they were beaten by three wickets at Trent Bridge to lose their ODI series against England.

Having lost with respective totals of 361 and 358 at Southampton and Bristol respectively, Pakistan failed to defend a score of 340-7 on Friday, despite a significant wobble from their hosts in reply.

Ben Stokes' unbeaten 71 proved crucial for England after Jason Roy, who was dropped twice, scored 114 amid some lacklustre work in the field.

In the post-match presentation, Sarfraz lamented Pakistan's mistakes and provided updates on the fitness of Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Amir.

"If we were fielding well and took catches, we had enough runs on the board," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

"We've been working very hard for the last one and a half years and it was very improved, but the way we've fielded here in three matches is not up to the mark. We have to improve."

Imam was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the elbow by a delivery from Mark Wood, but the opener was cleared of a fracture following X-rays and returned late in Pakistan's innings.

Paceman Amir, meanwhile, has yet to feature in the series due to illness and it is unclear when he will be able to return, with Pakistan's Cricket World Cup opener just a fortnight away.

"Imam hopefully will be ok," said Sarfraz. "He's got a bruise on his elbow so hopefully he will come back, but I'm not sure about Amir."

Roy revealed his impressive innings had come as something of a surprise after he spent the night in hospital with his daughter.

He told the BBC's Test Match Special: "I'm not in the form of my life. It was not my most fluent of innings but it was an extremely special feeling to get over three figures. I didn't see it coming.

"I had a bit of a rough morning so this one is a special one for me and my family.

"It was my little one. We had to take her to hospital at 1:30 in the morning. I stayed there until 8:30 and came back for a couple of hours sleep and got to the ground just before the warm-up and cracked on. It was a very emotional hundred."

Ben Stokes and Tom Curran rode to England's rescue as they overcame a major wobble with the bat to beat Pakistan by three wickets at Trent Bridge and open up an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.

The much-changed hosts - led by Jos Buttler with Eoin Morgan suspended - were initially cruising in pursuit of 341, reaching 201-1 inside 28 overs on the back of Jason Roy's 89-ball 114.

Roy's dismissal at the hands of Mohammad Hasnain triggered an alarming and unexpected collapse that saw England lose four wickets for 15 runs in 17 deliveries.

The required run-rate rose above nine per over thereafter but Stokes (71 not out) shared a crucial seventh-wicket partnership of 61 with Curran, who followed up figures of 4-75 with 31 runs, before sealing victory in the company of Adil Rashid with three balls unused as Pakistan were left to rue a series of sloppy errors in the field.

For the third match in succession, a Pakistan century proved in vain, Babar Azam striking 115 from 112 balls in a losing cause.

Pakistan's total of 340-7 represented their lowest score of the series so far and looked short of par at a venue synonymous with high-scoring feats in recent years, most notably when England registered a world-record tally of 481-6 against Australia last June.

The tourists were dealt a blow early in their innings when Imam-ul-Haq was struck on his left elbow by a Mark Wood short ball and forced to retire hurt. Happily, X-rays showed the opener had avoided a fracture and he returned at the end of his side's innings to finish six not out.

Babar, brought to the crease in the fourth over due to Imam's injury, produced some typically thrilling strokes as he shared in century stands with Fakhar Zaman (57) and the recalled Mohammad Hafeez, who made a somewhat streaky 59.

However, none of that trio were able to accelerate effectively and Shoaib Malik's 26-ball 41 appeared too little, too late as England kept their opponents in check.

Roy rode his luck in reply and would have been run out for seven had Babar managed a direct hit. The opener also offered chances on 25 and 33 and made Pakistan pay for their missed opportunities, kicking on superbly after James Vince had been bowled by Hasnain for 43.

A stunning six over cover off Hafeez brought up Roy's hundred, before he, Joe Root (36), Buttler (0) and Moeen Ali (0) all departed in quick succession to breathe fresh life into the contest.

Junaid Khan then pulled off a superb catch off his own bowling to account for Joe Denly (17), but Pakistan's fielding was hugely unimpressive on the whole and they seemingly failed to appeal when Curran may have been run out for seven.

With Pakistan looking increasingly ragged, England gradually regained control and Stokes fittingly hit the winning run to round off an encouraging individual display ahead of the Cricket World Cup on home soil.

Bangladesh won their first one-day tournament final as they put in a clinical batting display to beat West Indies in the tri-nation series at Malahide.

With West Indies' promising innings disrupted by rain, the match was cut to 24 overs per-side when play eventually resumed at 17:30 local time.

Shai Hope (74) and Sunil Ambris (69 not out) had been in the middle of an impressive partnership, but the break seemed to serve Bangladesh – without the injured Shakib Al Hasan – well, as they came out with renewed vigour.

Set a revised target of 210, Bangladesh stepped up the tempo with the bat – Soumya Sarkar (66) and Mosaddek Hossain (52no) both hitting half-centuries - as they reached their target with seven balls and five wickets remaining.

Put into bat, West Indies looked set to be heading for a high total before rain stopped play 20 overs into proceedings, Hope and Ambris having shared a century opening stand.

The Windies came back after a lengthy delay at 131-0, but lost Hope when he picked out Mosaddek off Mehidy Hasan’s bowling.

West Indies finished up on 152-1, but Bangladesh's target was upped based on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Sarkar cruised to a half-century in 27 balls before succumbing to Raymon Reifer on 66, having hit nine fours and three sixes during his stint at the crease.

Sabbir Rahman's two-ball duck put the Windies in the ascendancy, but a measured 36 from Mushfiqur Rahim put Bangladesh back in contention.

Mosaddek took full advantage, smashing five sixes as he raced to 52 from just 24 balls before Mahmudullah hit a precise cover drive for four to secure a historic victory ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq has received the all-clear after suffering a nasty blow to the elbow against England in the fourth ODI at Trent Bridge.

Imam was forced to retire hurt in the fourth over on Friday when a short ball from Mark Wood caught him flush on the left elbow.

The 23-year-old was in clear discomfort after the injury and taken to hospital for a precautionary X-ray, raising doubts over his fitness for the upcoming Cricket World Cup, but Pakistan later reported he had avoided serious damage.

A post on the official Twitter page of the Pakistan Cricket Board read: "Imam injury update. Imam-ul-Haq taken to hospital for X-ray. All X-rays are clear. Swelling on his left arm only."

The news is a welcome boost for Pakistan, who begin their World Cup campaign against West Indies – also at Trent Bridge – on May 31.

Eoin Morgan said wins like England's over Pakistan on Tuesday will boost his side's confidence ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

England completed their second highest successful one-day international run chase in a six-wicket victory in Bristol.

Set 359 for victory, Jonny Bairstow (128 off 93) and Jason Roy (76 off 55) guided England to their target with an incredible 31 balls to spare.

With the Cricket World Cup starting later this month, captain Morgan said such performances would only give England more belief.

"When guys perform like this it builds confidence within the changing room," he said.

"With regards to looking ahead, that is a really positive thing for our group."

Imam-ul-Haq's 151 had set Pakistan up in the third ODI, but Roy and Bairstow quickly took the game away from the tourists.

Bairstow, who hit 15 fours and five sixes, was happy with his innings, although he wanted more.

"I was really pleased with that hundred. Coming back into English conditions after playing in the IPL [Indian Premier League] was a big change and it's nice to hit the ground running," he said.

"It was frustrating to drag one on – I wanted to get a 170, 180, win the game and walk off that way."

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed lamented his side's bowling performance as they conceded eight runs per over to fall 2-0 behind in the five-match series.

"At halfway we spoke and were very confident, but our bowling was not up to the mark. I think they played better than us and that is why they won," he said.

"We have to improve our bowling in the next matches. Both openers have played well and again Asif Ali played really well for us. That is a good sign."

Peter Fulton will replace Craig McMillan as New Zealand's batting coach after the Cricket World Cup.

Fulton, who played 84 internationals for New Zealand, will take over in July after McMillan announced in February he would be stepping down.

Black Caps head coach Gary Stead was delighted with the appointment of Fulton, a former top-order batsman.

"We're delighted to have Pete come on board after the World Cup and are confident he will be a good fit for our environment," he said in a statement.

"We had a thorough process and utilised our senior players to help assess all the candidates.

"Pete obviously has a good understanding of batting, but he also demonstrated a clear vision for helping our elite batsmen.

"He's shown he has the coaching skills through his work with the New Zealand Under-19s and our winter training squads, while we know from his playing days that he will certainly add to our team culture."

Jonny Bairstow led the way with a magnificent 128 as England provided another imposing exhibition of their batting strength by chasing down 359 with remarkable ease to secure a six-wicket win in the third one-day international against Pakistan.

A score of 373-3 proved just enough for Eoin Morgan's men in the second ODI at Southampton, after the series-opener was washed out, and they required another sizeable total in Bristol on Tuesday, with Imam-ul-Haq's superb 151 helping Pakistan to 358-9.

However, Bairstow and Jason Roy (76) duly shared 159 in 17.3 overs and a home win never looked in doubt thereafter as England moved 2-0 up in the series with two matches to play, ruthlessly reaching their target with 31 balls unused.

By the time Bairstow, who heavily favoured the leg side in a brutal innings featuring 15 fours and five maximums, was dismissed, the required rate had been reduced to less than a run a ball.

That lifted any pressure on the middle order and the Cricket World Cup hosts were able to cruise home, completing the highest successful ODI chase in England as Joe Root (43), Ben Stokes (37) and Moeen Ali (46 not out) all made useful contributions.

It says much for England's batting line-up that they began their chase favoured by many despite being set 359 in the absence of Jos Buttler. He was rested along with Adil Rashid as skipper Morgan became England's most-capped ODI player. 

On a friendly batting surface and with some small boundaries to target, Bairstow and Roy actually began relatively sedately, taking just 26 from the first five overs before the latter was given a life on 21 as Shaheen Afridi spilled a simple chance at mid off to deny Hasan Ali a wicket.

That mistake soon proved costly as England's openers quickly shifted into overdrive, Bairstow scoring almost exclusively through leg as he overtook his partner.

Roy missed out on a hundred when he fell to Faheem Ashraf, but the brilliant Bairstow pressed on to record his first ODI hundred in 11 months before playing on to Junaid Khan, and Pakistan were guilty of some more sloppy fielding - twice dropping Moeen - as they slumped to what had become an inevitable defeat.

The tourists' loss was harsh on Imam, who moved through the gears beautifully to record Pakistan's highest individual score against England, surpassing Fakhar Zaman's 138 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

Imam's chief support came from Asif Ali, who continued to push his case for promotion to his country's 15-man World Cup squad with a 43-ball 52.

Chris Woakes was the pick of England's attack, a peach of a delivery to take Babar Azam's off stump the highlight of the seamer's work as he returned 4-67 from 10 overs. Joe Denly, drafted in to replace Rashid, was handed just one over, which went for nine.

England have the best chance they are ever likely to get to win the Cricket World Cup this year, according to former captain Mike Gatting.

Top-ranked England are hosting the 2019 tournament and have boosted a winning side with the inclusion of all-rounder Jofra Archer in their warm-up matches.

Gatting sees a competition packed with talent but believes Eoin Morgan's men must take their opportunity to triumph on home soil as this is "the strongest side they have ever had".

England have finished as runners-up three times without ever winning the World Cup.

"One-day cricket is as good as it's ever been," Gatting told The Cricketer. "It's quite incredible the way the format has blossomed again over the last few years and it's difficult to say who will come out on top this summer.

"England have the strongest side they have ever had, and the inclusion of the exciting Jofra Archer is only going to strengthen that. England will not have a better opportunity to win it."

However, Gatting also believes New Zealand could be in contention come the end of the tournament.

"I look at the squads and I do fancy New Zealand to do well," he said. "You can no longer call them dark horses as their players are so experienced.

"They play some great cricket, they always play as a team, and they are well led by Kane Williamson. Ross Taylor is also a fine batsman, and, in Tim Southee and Trent Boult, they have match-winning bowlers."

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