Afghanistan vs Pakistan: Time & again we’ve examined the Pakistani team, come to a conclusion that they’ll be a team to watch out for. They play some breathtaking cricket one day & the other, they’re as ordinary as any team could seem. Well, they’ve done it yet again. After an embarrassing loss against the Indians, the men in green have hit new highs. They’ve gone out and beaten South Africa & New Zealand with a lot of panache. You’ve heard about Sarfaraz Ahmed not being proactive in the game against India & his “yawn” created an unwarranted concern. The critics have been made to shut & Pakistan are back to playing some awesome cricket. They take on Afghanistan at Leeds & are favourites to win this contest.
HOW DOES THE POINTS TABLE LOOK?
Australia have already made it to the knock-outs & a win each for either team will see them through. It’s the battle for number 4 that insinuates excitement. England have to win their next two games to stay alive in the contest & they face the men in blue & the Kiwis in their upcoming fixtures. Talk about bottling a run to the semis. Pakistan are likely to win against Afghanistan & their last game is against the Bangla boys who also are actively competing for the 4th spot. The World Cup had begun in earnest from the very first day but the excitement will reach a crescendo when the need of the hour for all the teams will be to deliver. Who will rise to the occasion?
QUALIFICATION SCENARIO FOR PAKISTAN
- Win both their remaining games & reach 11 points
- England to lose one of their two matches
- Either of NZ & IND to lose all their remaining matches
Afghanistan after their 62-run defeat against Bangladesh had become only the 2nd team after Zimbabwe to have lost 7 matches in a single World Cup. Nothing spectacular was expected of them but the legion does have genuine game changers to challenge the very best. Against India, Mohammad Nabi almost got them over the line, but India’s premium bowler, Jasprit Bumrah kept his cool to keep them adrift. That being said, they take on Pakistan who can absolutely steamroll them. Pakistan will move to the fourth spot if they win tomorrow’s fixture but do Afghanistan have something special in their arsenal?
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Where: Headingley, Leeds
When: 29th June 2019, Saturday
Kick-Off Time: 3:00 PM
The teams have met only 3 times in ODIs & Pakistan lead the scoreline 3-0. This will be the first time Afghanistan battle against Pakistan in an ICC tournament. However, as the years have passed by the margins have been reduced. Can the Afghans cause an upset?
|2012||Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 7 wickets|
|2014||Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 72 runs|
|2018||Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 3 wickets|
24 games have been won by the team batting second on this wicket & the run-rate in the last decade has gone up from 5.50 to 5.72. The skipper who wins the toss should opt to bat second. Pakistan have played 9 games at the venue & have lost 5 times. The last time they played here, England scored a mammoth 351/9. The men in green could score only 297.
Highest score at this venue: 351/9 by England vs Pakistan
Pakistan will take the field unchanged.
Samiullah Shinwari in place of Hazratullah Zazai was an effective change, as the batsman scored a useful 49 at No. 6. The team is expected to remain unchanged.
EXPECTED PLAYING XI
Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c/wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi
Gulbadin Naib (c), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan/Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Haris Sohail has been a massive addition to the Pakistani line-up. The southpaw was in top-notch form in the series against Australia before the World Cup & he seems to have carried it to the mega event. His average in 2019 is an impressive 58.33 and he’s scored them at a brisk pace. At 93.91 runs per hundred balls. Babar Azam has looked magnificent out in the middle & with him at number 3, Haris Sohail will have a partner who thrives on rotating the strike & striking some gorgeous boundaries. How many will the classy left-hander score against Afghanistan? Gulbadin Naib & Co have to watch out for this duo.
Mohammad Nabi has the uncanny knack of picking wickets. The all-rounder keeps it relatively simple & that’s been his USP. The tweaker picked 4 wickets against Lanka & against India, he was Afghanistan’s star man. With Rashid Khan not having the best campaign, Nabi will the player to keep a keen eye on.
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