June 24, 2024

Huge Image – Benefit Afghanistan?

It is now roughly midway by way of the World Cup, and the desk is starting to take form. Afghanistan and Pakistan, the 2 sides that take one another on in Chennai, are nowhere close to the pinnacle of it, and it is already starting to method must-win territory for every of those sides. Defeat for Afghanistan would virtually actually knock them out, whereas a Pakistan loss leaves Babar Azam’s aspect with no additional room for error.

Afghanistan will really feel like there’s been little to separate the 2 sides on far too many events, however they’re but to rejoice an ODI win in opposition to their fiercest regional rivals. They have been famously denied in a heartbreaker on the 2019 World Cup after being offered with a golden alternative to knock Pakistan out, and victory on Monday would have a near-similar impact. There have been sufficient encouraging indicators to counsel this might be an evenly poised recreation, although Afghanistan have peppered patches of brilliance with prolonged spells of mediocrity with each bat and ball.
There are two clear areas the place Afghanistan get pleasure from a bonus over their extra adorned opponents: top-order firepower and world-class spin bowling. Rahmanullah Gurbaz alone has hit seven sixes within the powerplay on this World Cup thus far, whereas Pakistan have managed none in the entire of 2023. With Pakistan’s openers out of shape, it will likely be an space the place Afghanistan can exhibit a transparent level of distinction.
On the bowling entrance, whereas Pakistan juggle their spinners and take a look at to determine a strategy to get essentially the most out of Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz and Usama Mir, Afghanistan don’t have any points on the subject of spin. Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are two of essentially the most prized spinners in world cricket, whereas Mohammad Nabi has been successfully used to sap opposition momentum by way of the center overs. Pakistan, in the meantime, have typically wanted to show again to tempo, or preserve taking costly spinners out of the assault by way of the center overs of innings. Add to that questions across the tactical astuteness of Babar’s in-game captaincy, and Afghanistan will really feel there’s a Pakistani vulnerability to be exploited there.

Afghanistan LWLLL (final 5 accomplished matches, most up-to-date first)
Pakistan LLWWL

Within the highlight: Ikram Alikhil and Shaheen Afridi

Twenty-two-year-old Ikram Alikhil wasn’t a part of Afghanistan’s beginning line-up for almost two months till he was plunged in in opposition to England final week. It will change into an impressed choice, with the wicketkeeper-batter shepherding his aspect by way of a tough part in the course of the center overs when Afghanistan seemed in peril of collapsing. He would rating a half-century that helped Afghanistan stun England, whereas his maintaining throughout the final two video games has been impressively assured. He final featured within the Afghan line-up in the course of the sides’ three-match collection in opposition to Pakistan in August, unable to get a look-in in the course of the Asia Cup. In what seems like a must-win conflict for each, he has the prospect to make sure he is not in line for the chop anytime quickly once more.

There is not a lot that Pakistan have needed to cheer in regards to the previous couple of video games, however Shaheen Afridi‘s efficiency in opposition to Australia was little wanting world-class. In a recreation the place Australia racked up 367, he registered figures of 5 for 54, together with the innings’ solely maiden over, in an beautiful bowling show that straddled all three phases. Issues might need been even higher for Pakistan had Usama Mir not shelled a easy likelihood off his bowling when David Warner – who would go on to attain 163 – was on 10. He has report in opposition to Afghanistan, with 12 wickets at 15.25, and with Pakistan needing to get their World Cup again on observe, Shaheen’s management with the ball might go a great distance.

Group information – Does Usama Mir nonetheless make the Pakistan XI?

Afghanistan (doable): 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz 2 Ibrahim Zadran 3 Rahmat Shah 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt) 5 Azmatullah Omarzai 6 Ikram Alikhil (wk) 7 Mohammad Nabi 8 Rashid Khan 9 Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10 Naveen-ul-Haq 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi

The one query for Pakistan is whether or not Usama Mir, who had a disappointing earlier outing, will get one other alternative in additional conducive situations. One in all Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz and Mir will miss out, with Nawaz trying prone to make means.

Pakistan (doable): 1 Abdullah Shafique 2 Imam-ul-Haq 3 Babar Azam (capt) 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 5 Saud Shakeel 6 Mohammad Nawaz/Shadab Khan 7 Iftikhar Ahmed 8 Usama Mir 8 9 Hasan Ali 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi 11 Haris Rauf

The pitch would be the identical because the one used for the Australia-India recreation a fortnight in the past, which suggests each side can count on loads of flip.

There’s an extreme warmth warning in Chennai tomorrow, with situations anticipated to be notably oppressive all through the afternoon. That would imply batting first for the aspect profitable the toss.

“We’ve performed 4 matches and we’re 2-2. We’re assured. We settle for that we didn’t play nicely within the final two matches. We must carry out up to speed.”
Imam-ul-Haq recognises the necessity for an improved efficiency from Pakistan

*6.20GMT, Oct 22: The stat had erroneously overlooked Moin Khan. This has been corrected.

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