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World Cup 2019, Afghanistan vs Bangladesh: Predicted Playing 11 and Key Players for Afghanistan

Karthik Raj
ANALYST
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197   //    24 Jun 2019, 01:01 IST

India v Afghanistan - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
India v Afghanistan - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Afghanistan are set to take on Bangladesh in Match 31 of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup at the Hampshire bowl, Southampton on June 24.

Bangladesh have impressed one and all with their showings in the World Cup so far. In particular, star player Shakib Al Hasan has been a standout performer with 425 runs in just 5 matches. However, Bangladesh only have 5 points and 2 wins to their credit in this tournament. This can be attributed to the fact that their bowling attack hasn't been able to pick wickets consistently. Considering the qualification scenarios for the semi-finals, Bangladesh's next game against Afghanistan becomes a must-win fixture.

On the other hand, Afghanistan have no chance for semi-final qualification. This could mean that Afghanistan can start to display their natural game without any second thought. Also, the confidence from their previous game against India will help them in the future. Afghanistan came into the India match low on confidence after failing to compete in their previous 5 games. However, a favourable pitch at Southampton brought their spinners into the game and India had to be at their very best to snatch a thrilling match. With the match against Bangladesh set to be played at the same venue, Afghanistan will fancy their chances to pull off a surprise win.

So, let's look at Afghanistan's predicted playing 11.


Openers

Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib

At the top order of the order, no change is expected unless Afghanistan change their mind at the last moment. In the last match, both Zazai and Naib found the pace bowled by India's seamers to be too hot. Comparing that, the two batsmen can afford to heave a huge sigh of relief given that Bangladesh don't have such a quick bowler. As expected, they will look to attack no matter who bowls for Bangladesh.

Middle-Order

Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram AliKhil

Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi are Afghanistan's two most reliable batsmen. At one point, Rahmat and Hashmat were building up a superb partnership against India. With them falling in quick succession, India stormed back into the match.

This ended up as the turning point in the end as Afghanistan lost by a slim margin. They will look to do much better against Bangladesh. Another experienced batsman in the form of Asghar Afghan would have to make a solid contribution after failing against India. Meanwhile, during the death overs, Najibullah Zadran will look to be at his usual best and strike some huge blows. While the above-mentioned batsmen will carry the bulk of the responsibility, Afghanistan will also be happy to get a 10-15 extra runs from their 18-yr old wicket-keeper.

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All-Rounder

Mohammad Nabi

Afghanistan's premier all-rounder almost put in a match-winning performance against India. While he bowled superbly to end up with figures of 2/33, it was his amazing fifty during Afghanistan's chase that stole the spotlight. Nabi couldn't quite cross the line against India but he will hope that the result ends up in the opposite way against Bangladesh.

Bowlers

Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

0/110 against England, 1/38 against India. In a gap of 4 days, Rashid Khan witnessed extremes in both cricket and also life. Like anyone else, he will look to have more of the latter when Bangladesh come up against him on Monday. Afghanistan's other key spinner Mujeeb too had a similar time like Rashid.

However, Mujeeb's bad period was extended one. He was unable to bowl at his best in the IPL and that continued in the first two games of the World Cup. He was dropped after that and only returned to the playing 11 against England. Since then, he looks to be slowly finding his rhythm. This augurs well for Afghanistan. To round off the playing 11, Aftab Alam is set to be the frontline fast-bowler for Afghanistan. He didn't necessarily threaten India but his death bowling skills should keep him in the team.


Key Players

Gulbadin Naib- Gulbadin Naib came into the tournament with a lot of doubts hanging behind his back. He was appointed as captain at the last moment and critics started to question his ability to lead the side in World Cup. Further, Mohammad Shahzad's infamous World Cup exit and other off-field issues put the whole team under immense pressure.

The fact that the team wasn't putting up competitive performances in the World Cup just compounded the misery. However, Naib didn't let all this affect him as he replied to the critics with his performances. He is currently Afghanistan's leading wicket-taker and 4th highest run-scorer in the ongoing World Cup. With his team also putting up a positive performance against India, Naib will look to take all that good aura to the match against Bangladesh with the hope of winning their first game in the World Cup.

Rahmat Shah- Afghanistan's head coach Phil Simmons has often termed Rahmat Shah as the team's best technician and batsman. But, he has only been able to justify that tag in small samples until now. Rahmat will look to finally convert a start into a big score and help his team record a win on Monday.

Mohammad Nabi- Rashid Khan might be Afghanistan's most popular cricketer, but one could argue that Mohammad Nabi is equally valuable to his team. Not only is Nabi is regarded as one of the best finger spinners in the World but he has also shown his ability with the bat on occasions.

On such occasion turned out to be the game against India as he scored a brilliant fifty to take Afghanistan to the brink of a historic victory. However, he will look to make it a regular feature and he can start it a good run against Bangladesh.


Afghanistan's Predicted Playing 11

Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib (C), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Ikram AliKhil, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Also read – Highest Individual Score in World cup

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