World Cup 2019, Match 4, Australia vs Afghanistan: Who will win today's game?
Defending champions Australia on Saturday, 1st June take on a side that's ranked the lowest in the ICC ODI rankings, Afghanistan. But it's not going to be a cakewalk for the defending champions as they will be put through a spin test today.
Australian fans were given a scare with David Warner reportedly missing out today's game due to an injury, but that will apparently not be the case. The swashbuckling, attacking opener will return in Aussie colours along with Steven Smith today.
Australia head into this tournament as not the favourites to the lift the trophy. This is something that would work perfectly for Aaron Finch and his men. They would want to slip below the radar and look to let their performances on the field do the talking.
Afghanistan's growth as a cricketing nation is one to savour. They have won the hearts of everyone following this beautiful game in the past few years. And they certainly aren't in England to just make up the numbers. They are here to compete and push oppositions.
They have a potent weapon in their team whose stock as an all-round cricketer is on the rise. Rashid Khan has the most number of wickets since the World Cup 2015, 125 wickets. He is someone Australia will be weary of and would look to play out his threat.
Keeping the fact that Australia came of two convincing wins in their World Cup openers, one win against England that would have felt good for Aaron Finch's men. They will be their full strength squad including the likes of Mitchell Starc and Patt Cummins.
If Australia play up to potential, irrespective of whether they bat or ball first, they can seriously dent Afghanistan's confidence. If Afghanistan's trump cards - Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rehman and Mohammed Nabi have an off day, then they will be chasing leather today.
Australia start as firm favourites to win today's game. With the straight boundaries at Bristol being short, the Aussies would target the Afghan spinners on that side of the ground. Afghanistan on the other hand would hope that the return of Hamid Hazan and Mohammad Shahzad can upset Australia.
It will be some match for Australia with the duo of Steven Smith and David Warner making a return to the ODI team after their bans being served. There is enormous talent in the side and they would be looking to come together and kick start their campaigns on a thumping note.
Can Afghanistan rise above their weight and disturb Australia's plans? Well we would know soon!