So all set for the last league day of APL 2018? It is set to be a doubleheader day. Confident Balkh Legends will contest against the rejuvenated Kandahar Knights for the first game of the day. Balkh and Kandahar will be meeting for the second time in this edition of APL. The last time when these two teams met, Balkh Legends won the game by 13 runs.
Thus, with Balkh Legends eager to find the right tempo ahead of the semifinals and Kandahar eager to qualify for the semis, the Balkh-Kandahar encounter is expected to be a hard-fought affair.
APL 2018 - Balkh Legends vs Kandahar Knights, Match 19 Details:
Match Date: 18 October 2018, Thursday
Match Time: 12:00 PM GMT, 5:30 PM IST, 4:00 PM LOCAL
Match Venue: Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah, UAE
How good have Balkh Legends been under the captaincy of Mohammad Nabi? Simply brilliant. Right? Legends are currently standing at the top of the points table with five wins from seven games.
Balkh Legends have been one of the most settled lineups amongst all the other teams. With the services of Chris Gayle, Colin Munro, Ryan ten Doeschate, and Ravi Bopara, Legends have blossomed in their batting department. Besides, a good bridging between national and overseas players has made the job a bit easier for Legends.
Meanwhile, Balkh Legends have had an immaculate bowling lineup as well. Although they don't possess overseas strength in their bowling, their national players have been nothing less on talent. Balkh Legends have plenty of options with the ball which makes their bowling so much threatening for the opposition.
Thus, with a decent run at the tournament so far, Legends will hope to end the league stage on a high while cruising to semifinals.
Probable Playing XI for Balkh Legends: Chris Gayle, Dilshan Munaweera, Darwish Rasooli, Ryan ten Doeschate, Ravi Bopara, Mohammad Nabi (C), Ikram Ali Khil (WK), Gulbadin Naib, Mirwais Ashraf, Qais Ahmad, and Aftab Alam.
Kandahar Knights seem to have raised the alarm bell at the right moment. Having lost their first four encounters, Knights appeared to be out of the contention. However, with two wins from their three last matches, Kandahar Knights are just a step away from the semifinal stage. They will need to win this encounter to have a place in the semis. The win against Balkh will cruise Kandahar to the semis with a better NRR than Nangarhar.
Knights have been inconsistent with the bat. Barring two or three players, their batting has been a bit below average. However, with Ashgar Afghan coming back to form, Kandahar Knights will look to improve on the batting front.
Unlike batting, bowling has been their forte. With some great combinations in their bowling lineup, they have been comprehensively brilliant with the ball.
Thus, with some confidence on their side, Kandahar Knights will look to fix their semifinal birth with a win in today's game.
Probable Playing XI for Kandahar Knights: Paul Stirling, Ashgar Afghan (C), Brendon McCullum, Nasir Jamal, Riki Wessels (WK), Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Karim Sadiq, Mohammad Naveed, Sayed Shirzad, and Waqar Salamkheil.
With Kandahar Knights coming back to the form and Balkh Legends eager to end the tournament on a high, the encounter is expected to go down to the wire. However, with a balanced side on offer, Balkh Legends might end up on the winning side.
Expected top performers for Balkh Legends: Colin Munro, Chris Gayle, and Darwish Rasooli.
Expected top performers for Kandahar Knights: Riki Wessels, Ashgar Afghan, and Sayed Shirzad.
Final Prediction: Going by their current form, Balkh Legends might go on to end Kandahar Knights' semifinal dream.