Afghanistan vs South Africa: If the Proteas beat Afghanistan they’ll be in a similar stage as Pakistan were in the 1992 World Cup. We all know how that story finished. Well, if your one of those fans, wake up. The Proteas have looked down & out in the 3 games they’ve played. Yes, there have been brilliant individual performances but the team together has just not worked in synergy. What if Dale Steyn had stayed fit? Firstly, this isn’t a hypothetical world & secondly, the other teams seem far more superior than the Faf du Plessis lead side. It is known that they have to win all the games hereafter & that probably is the only positive for them. They’ve got zero need to meander around equations.
The Afghani cricketers are superstars. Within no time, they’ve managed to compete with the top ten teams in the world. Their story is nothing short of a fairy tale but there’s always an antagonist to every story. For Afghanistan, it’s a phenomenon called time. They’ve only been around for over a decade & to see them challenge some of the finest teams is an achievement in itself. That being said, team Afghanistan is here & they’re here to compete. Do they have the firepower to beat the Proteas? South Africa will beat them 9 times out of 10 but they’ve got the likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Hazratullah Zazai who are proven match winners who on their day can test the very best
THE STORY SO FAR
South Africa have played 4 games so far & have lost three. The solitary point they’ve managed to gain is of the called-off game against the West Indies. Quinton de Kock & skipper Faf Du Plessis have scored 118 & 105 runs respectively. Van Der Dussen has been South Africa’s mainstay in the middle order but he hasn’t got support from the others.
David Miller & JP Duminy have faltered in the middle order & Hashim Amla hasn’t been close to his actual best. The wicket-taking onus was on Kagiso Rabad’s shoulders but he’s managed to dismiss only 4 batsmen & has conceded 5.40 runs per over. De Kock & Faf Du Plessis have to bat more responsibly & the pacers have to step-up. South Africa are the favourites to win this game but can they reach their optimum potential when it matters most?
Afghanistan are here competing against the top teams & executing the basics is the need of the hour. They were beaten convincingly by Australia. Against Sri Lanka, they had an opportunity to close the game but that didn’t pan out as expected. A batting collapse saw them go down by 34 runs. New Zealand outclassed them in the 3rd beating the Afghanis by 7 wickets.
Hashmatullah Shahidi has looked solid. Zazai can swing his blade to a decent effect. Mohammad Nabi is an experienced campaigner. Dawlat Zadran, Rashid Khan & Hamid Hassan are wily operators. The odds might seem very little but Afghanistan should/can be never counted out.
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When: 15th June 2019, Saturday
Where: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Kick-Off Time: 6:00 PM IST
This is the first time the two teams are playing an ODI against each other. At Cardiff, Afghanistan took on Sri Lanka & were beaten by 34 runs. The pitch there seemed decent for both seamers & the tweakers. Nabi had figures of 4/30 while Nuwan Pradeep had Afghani batters’ numbers. He picked 4/31.
Mujeeb ur Rahman is unlikely to make it to the playing XI. Either Dawlat Zadran or Aftab Alam are likely to be included. Rashid Khan should have recovered from the blow to the head & is likely to start.
Lungi Ngidi will not be rushed into the playing XI. Aiden Markram might get to open with Quinton De Kock with Hashim Amla batting at number 3.
EXPECTED PLAYING XI
Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan
Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi/Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Hashmatullah Shahidi looks composed, skilled & has got all the temperament in the world. The likes of Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran need to spend some time out in the middle & Afghanistan are certain to challenge the Proteas. Shahidi averages 33.78 in ODIs & has scored 8 fifties in this format. Can he be the player to watch out for?
Faf Du Plessis has had a mediocre World Cup so far. In the 3 innings he’s batted, Faf has registered scores of 5, 62, 38. The South African skipper is one of the finest batsmen in world cricket at the moment. He’s expected to get to the three-figure mark if he gets off to a start. Sine the 2015 World Cup Faf has scored 2882 runs at 58.81. The classy right-handed batsman has scored 7 hundreds in this interim. If South Africa has to pull themselves back into the title hunt, Faf has to get going.
FANTASY CRICKET TEAM FOR AFGHANISTAN vs SOUTH AFRICA
Will be updated soon…
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