Afghanistan vs India: After a thumping win against arch-rivals Pakistan, the men in blue take on Afghanistan in the 28th fixture of the World Cup 2019. Team India, after 4 games are currently placed at number 4 & a win against the Afghani lads will move them to the 3rd spot. Bhuvneshwar Kumar left the field after suffering an injury but that didn’t seem to bother the Indian bowling attack. Vijay Shankar chipped in & the wrist spinners conjured a magical spell helping India to better their head-to-head record against Pakistan at the World Cups. As it stands, the number is 7-0, advantage India.
INJURY WOES FOR TEAM INDIA
Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be out for 2-3 weeks & Mohammad Shami will be his replacement. Shami had a stupendous series down under where his ability to pick wickets with the new ball was there to see. However, for the World Cup, India chose Bhuvneshwar Kumar. India now have an opportunity to test their bench strength & this before they move to the last stages of the mega event. In the year 2019, Shami has picked 19 wickets in 11 matches & in conditions that favour seam bowling, he’ll be a handful.
Rishab Pant, at 21, is realising his dream. The young dasher has been included in the squad after Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament. Will he make it to the starting XI? Will he replace Vijay Shankar?
The stakes are super high, the expectations even higher when the quadrennial event begins. Afghanistan have come a long way in a very quick time but to compete against the big boys was never going to be easy. Here they are, at the bottom of the table after 5 games. The only team the Afghans came close to challenging was Sri Lanka. The top order hasn’t done what was needed of them, the middle order did the repair job to a certain extent but the bowling does look extremely timid.
Rashid Khan was smashed for 110 in 9 overs against England & hasn’t been in the thick of things are far as wickets are concerned. Hashmatullah Shahidi has been their only saving grace & come this game against one of the best teams in world cricket, their quality will be tested to the limit.
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When: 22nd June 2019, Saturday
Where: The RoseBowl Southampton
Kick-Off Time: 3:00 PM
The teams have met only twice in ODIs. India have won 1 & the match finished in parity in the Asia cup encounter last year.
India are unlikely to make any changes after Vijay Shankar was declared fit. The all-rounder was struck by a Jasprit Bumrah yorker but will be available for the game against Afghanistan
Afghanistan will take the field unchanged.
EXPECTED PLAYING XI
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Noor Ali Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Ikram Ali Khil, Dawlat Zadran/Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
KL Rahul is one player everybody would pay money to watch. The stylish opener was contentiously included into the 15-member squad but he’s responded decently so far. Rahul scored a magnificent hundred in the warm-up game against Afghanistan & with no major threats in the Afghani bowling unit, he’ll fancy his chances. In England, Rahul has scored a century each in the test & the T20I format. He’ll be a player to watch out for.
Hashmatullah Shahidi has been Afghanistan’s, main man. Although his strike-rate hasn’t been as impressive, his knack to see off the crucial overs has worked brilliantly for him. In 2019, Shahidi has scored 355 runs at 35.50. He’s scored 4 fifties this year out of which 2 have been scored in the ongoing tournament. 59 against the Kiwis & a fighting 76 against the English fury. If the likes of Gulbadin Naib, Noor Ali Zadran or Rahmat Shah get going, Shahidi has the technique to hold the innings together. Watch out for this southpaw.
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