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World Cup 2019, Match 7, Afghanistan Vs Sri Lanka: Today's Predicted Playing 11 and Key Players for Afghanistan 

Karthik Raj
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Afghanistan will look to put in a good performance against Sri Lanka
Afghanistan will look to put in a good performance against Sri Lanka

Afghanistan put in a spirited performance in their first match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup but that still fell way short against a rampant Australian team.

Afghanistan struggled against Australia's quality bowling line up as they huffed and puffed to a total of 207. Later on, Australia chased down the modest total in a professional way en route to a 7 quicker win. Afghanistan will look to quickly forget that loss and direct their focus onto their next game against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka are also coming off a bad loss against New Zealand. New Zealand thrashed Sri Lanka by 10 wickets at Cardiff. As a result, Afghanistan can't be mistaken if they think that the match against Sri Lanka is their best opportunity to notch a win in this World Cup. Not just Sri Lanka's recent form, but a convincing win against the same team in the 2018 Asia Cup should provide loads of confidence for Afghanistan.

Let us have a look at Afghanistan's predicted playing 11.

Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai will open the batting for Afghanistan. The two explosive openers failed against Australia as the express pace bowled by Australia's new ball bowlers, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, proved to be too quick for them. However, against a friendly Sri Lankan bowling attack, Shahzad and Zazai will look to return to form and provide a quick start for the team.

Rahmat Shah will play at No 3. Rahmat Shah is a classy customer and probably Afghanistan's batsman. He played well against Australia to score 43 but got out in a very soft way.

Hashmatullah Shahidi is another important batsman for Afghanistan. Like Rahmat Shah, Shahidi is different from the other ultra-attacking Afghanistan batsmen. He has been largely consistent and can be expected to return to form after a failure against Australia.

Afghanistan's premier all-rounder Mohammad Nabi will have an important role to play against Sri Lanka. He had an off day against Australia with both bat and ball but Sri Lanka's left-hand dominant batting order might make him a very important cog in the wheel for Afghanistan.

Najibullah Zadran is yet another attacking batsman in Afghanistan's batting line-up. He was the lone Afghan batsman to score a half-century as he took on the Australian bowlers after consolidating the inning. Najibullah will look to continue that form.

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Skipper Gulbadin Naib will bat at No 7. Naib had a decent day against Australia as he scored 31 runs and also took the wicket off Australia's skipper Aaron Finch.

Rashid Khan, as usual, will be the first name on Afghanistan's team sheet. The superstar had a tough day with the ball against Australia as the surface at Bristol didn't provide any support to the spinners. He will look to have a much better outing against a struggling Lankan side.

Dawlat Zadran and Aftab Alam will be the seamers for Afghanistan. Dawlat didn't have a good outing against Australia but the experienced seamer will maintain his spot in the team. Aftab Alam, the right-arm medium pacer could come into the playing 11 in place of Hamid Hassan. Hamid took a blow to his right hand during a practice session on Monday. Afghanistan wouldn't want to take a risk with Hamid given his long history of injuries sustained over the years.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Afghanistan's mystery spinner will be the final member of the predicted starting line up. Mujeeb has been struggling to put up good performances for a while and Sri Lanka could provide a good opportunity to get back that elusive form.

Key Players

Rashid Khan: Ever since his debut in international cricket, Rashid Khan has been the most important player for Afghanistan. Rashid is considered by most experts and fans as the world's best limited-overs spinner. Rashid's consistent performances have in fact made him the No 3 ranked bowler in the ICC ODI rankings list.

Mohammad Shahzad: While Shahzad doesn't guarantee consistency, he definitely can provide match-winning ability within for this Afghanistan team. Shahzad is such an explosive batsman that he can win the game for Afghanistan within 20 overs.

Rahmat Shah: Rahmat Shah is an integral part of this Afghanistan team. He holds the innings together for Afghanistan by occupying the important No. 3 position. It never hurts to have a technically-correct batsman amidst hordes of attacking players. Coach Phil Simmons has often termed Rahmat as the 'best technician" in the entire country and the latter will be hoping to prove that right in front of a huge global audience.

Predicted Playing 11 for Afghanistan-

Mohammad Shahzad (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib (WK), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Also read - Biggest world cup win

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