ASIA CUP 2018 - Super Four, Match 2 Preview: Admirable Afghanistan looks to make it 3 Wins in 3 Days
ASIA CUP 2018 - Super Four, Match 2 : Pakistan v Afghanistan Preview
Date & Time: 21st September & 3:30 PM Local Time, 5:00 PM IST
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Afghanistan continued their memorable 2018 by qualifying for the Super Four stage of Asia Cup 2018 with two back-to-back commanding wins against Sri Lanka & Bangladesh. No longer will they be considered as minnows in white-ball cricket.
Even their weaker batting line-up is coming along well at right time to post defendable totals. Rahmat Shah has been their main pillar in batting department.
He's been dismissed only once in single digits in his last 18 ODI innings. Magician Rashid Khan, with his birthday heroics, gave them a resounding win against Bangladesh and again he'll be the X-factor versus Pakistan.
The only concern for Afghanistan should have is their players' fitness. They will be playing their third consecutive match in as many days with same playing XI. It will definitely test their players physical fitness, but expect them to continue with the winning combination.
Since their successful Champions Trophy 2017 campaign, Pakistan has had some mixed results in ODI format. Though they had 5-0 whitewashes against Sri Lanka & Zimbabwe, they were unable to win a single game against a top ODI side. They lost 5-0 to New Zealand and a couple of days back faced a humiliating loss against India.
Knowing these stats, Pakistan will take the field in a crucial fixture against their neighbors. Openers' failure and poor shot selection from middle-order batsmen resulted in an another batting slump against India.
They will again depend on their openers for change of fortunes. But Shadab Khan's injury will be a major concern on a spin-friendly Abu Dhabi pitch. Maybe they will go in with couple of changes to the playing eleven.
Pitch & Weather :
As compared to Dubai, the Abu Dhabi pitch was bit slow and it also deteriorates as the match progresses, as we saw in the Group stage fixtures. Considering all these facts, the winner of the toss will definitely bat first.
Team Combinations :
Shadab Khan's niggle during India's match was a major concern for Pakistan. If he is not fit, then reserve spinner Mohammad Nawaz can replace him. Underperforming Amir may also make his way for Junaid Khan.
Pakistan (Likely XI) - Fakhar Zaman, Imam-Ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (C & wk), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan/Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan
Afghanistan has played with same XI in both their Group B matches on consecutive days. Expect them to play with the same team despite the fact they are playing their third consecutive match in as many days.
Afghanistan (Likely XI) - M Shahzad (wk), Ishanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ashgar Afghan(C), Samiullah Shenwari, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
--> Rashid Khan is now the leading wicket-taker for Afghanistan with 112 wickets in just 48 ODI's. Nabi also had 112 wickets, but he got them in 103 ODI's.
--> Pakistan & Afghanistan have played 2 ODI's between them, one at Sharjah in 2012 and another one at Fatullah in 2014 Asia Cup. Pakistan won both the encounters.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (C & wk), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-Ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Shan Masood, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nazaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi
Afghanistan: Ashgar Afghan (C), M Shahzad (wk), Ishanullah Janat, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Munir Ahmad (wk), Samiullah Shenwari, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mohammed Nabi, Rashid, Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Sayed Shirzad, Wafadar