The champions of the 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers, Afghanistan will open their 2019 World Cup campaign against the champions of the 2015 World Cup, Australia in the fourth match of the tournament at Bristol.
The Blue Tigers stunned the cricket universe with a victory over 2017 Champions Trophy winners, Pakistan in the warm-up games. However, they were squashed by the hosts, England in their second one.
Afghanistan managed to win only one solitary match in the 2015 World Cup but this year they will love to leave England with at least 2-3 victories to their name. And, the best way they can kick off their mission is by having a good outing against the Aussies. Here's how the Afghanistan team can line-up in the 4th game.
Mohammad Shahzad would have returned to full fitness after he was forced to retire in the warm-up match against Pakistan because of a hamstring problem. Hazratullah Zazai will be his opening partner.
Rahmat Shah will bat at no. 3 while Hasmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan and Mohammad Nabi will form the team's core.
Gulbadin Naib will bat at no.7 followed by the spin twins, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
The team's fast bowlers will be Hamid Hassan and Dawlat Zadran.
Key Players for Afghanistan
Batsmen - Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad
Zazai and Shahzad, the two openers will play the key role in deciding the fate of the Afghan innings in match no.4. If they lose their wickets early, then the Afghanistan team may flounder just like Pakistan collapsed against Windies on Friday, 31st May.
Even if the two openers score only 30-40 runs in the powerplay but manage to play 15-20 overs without losing a wicket then it will be great for the middle order batsmen of the team.
Bowlers - Rashid Khan and Dawlat Zadran
Rashid Khan has not been that effective in English conditions till now but if the Blue Tigers want to give the defending champions a run for their money then he needs to strike with the ball. Dawlat Zadran, on the other hand, will have to hit the deck hard and ensure he does not give away runs easily to the Australian batsmen.
Predicted Playing 11
Mohammad Shahzad, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hasmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hassan.Published 31 May 2019, 17:41 IST