Afghanistan vs New Zealand: While one team is giving it all to establish themselves as a strong side, the other team seeks to hold on to their dominance by winning yet another match. Match 13 of the ICC World Cup 2019 will see a confident Afghanistan facing super-strong New Zealand at the County Ground in Taunton.
New Zealand has been in an incredible form this season with back to back wins in the tournament. They decimated Sri Lanka in the first game and later went onto register their second victory against Bangladesh. On the contrary, Afghanistan tasted defeats in their first two matches against Australia and Sri Lanka. While the Afghans did show a sign of improvement in the second game, there is still a long way for them to establish themselves as a strong side.
IKRAM ALI REPLACES MOHAMMAD SHAHZAD
While Afghanistan were prepping themselves for a strong comeback, they received a major setback as their right-hand wicket-keeper batsman has been ruled out of the world cup as he is suffered a knee injury. The opener has been replaced with young Ikram Ali. The 18-year old will be playing his first world cup and it is still uncertain if he’d be able to deliver it for his team. Afghanistan needs to improve a lot in terms of their batting, as they succumbed to Sri Lanka’s pace-attack. New Zealand boasts a stronger bowling side than Sri Lanka and they will pose a great challenge to the Afghani batsmen.
New Zealand, on the other hand, have been playing this tournament to undo what happened in the 2015 world cup finals and is leaving no stone unturned to script history in this world cup. They are coming into this game after two comprehensive victories and they will be looking to make it a hattrick of wins, by winning it against Afghanistan. Though the Blackcaps are yet to play against the bigwigs of the tournament, their performance against Sri Lanka clearly showcases their bowling ability and they are, undoubtedly, one of the most stronger bowling sides.
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Afghanistan and New Zealand have only played once against each other, where the Blackcaps registered a comfortable victory. The teams had clashed with each other in the ICC world cup 2015 in a league match, in Napier.
Today’s weather may be a big cause of worry to the players and the fans. The chances of having a full game seem to be very bleak. However, the chances of the game being completely washed away are also very limited. The forecast report predicts that there will be heavy downpour from 9 am to 1 pm, post which the clouds will make way for the sun to shine bright through the rest of the day. A delayed start to the game is the most probable scenario. The temperature is expected to hover around the 14 degrees Celsius mark. Humidity percentage during the game is expected to reach the 70s.
The Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton is resurrecting after 2 decades. The venue will be hosting an ODI for the first time after the games in 1999 World Cup. The pitch had a reputation of being a batsmen’s paradise back in the day. The pitch, however, had been in use for domestic games ever since. In the last five List A games, the pitch was to an average score of 315. Further, three of the total five games were won by the team batting first. However, considering the weather conditions, it may safe for the team winning the toss to elect to field first, defying the history of the pitch.
Mohammad Shahzad may not be seen through the remainder of the tournament owing to his knee injury. His place may be most likely be taken by Noor Ali Zadran in the playing eleven. He may open the innings with Hazratullah Zazai, who has been a promising face for Afghanistan. Shahidi and Rahmat Shah will form the essential backbone for the team in the middle order. Afganistan’s star player, Mohammad Nabi has so far delivered with the ball and is yet to put his batting prowess to use. Najibullah Zadran has been in a terrific form and his team will rely on him to put some quick runs on the scoreboard.
Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah (WK), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib (C), Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
New Zealand, don’t have a significant reason to make changes to their team. Sitting at the top of the points table, the Black Caps might want to retain their winning combination. Guptill and Munro, have been consistent, giving the New Zealand team a strong start as openers. Although Kane scored 40 runs in the last game, his performance seemed sloppy. He managed to score just one boundary in his total innings.
Ross Taylor would like to continue his form from the previous match, in which he scored a quick 82 runs. The team’s advantage will be its strong line up of allrounders. With the inclusion of De Grandhomme, Nesham, and Santner, the team will be at the advantage of extra bowlers and batsmen. Matt Henry has been leading the bowling attack for the team, with seven wickets to his name already, in two games. Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson will manage the pace department.
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
PROBABLE TOP PERFORMER
Rahmat Shah– Afghanistan | Trent Boult – New Zealand
FANFIGHT FANTASY CRICKET TEAMS FOR AFGHANISTAN vs NEW ZEALAND
TV – Star Sports
Match Timings – 18:00 IST; 13:30 local
PREDICTION: The prediction is for New Zealand to win the match.
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