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Afghanistan set for stern Australia test in T20 World Cup Super Eight game
6/23/2024 9:33:21 PM
Agencies
KINGSTOWN, June 23: A stern test awaits Afghanistan as they take on a rampant Australia in their T20 World Cup Super Eight Group 1 clash here on Sunday. Coming off a 47-run thrashing at the hands of India, Afghanistan will be under pressure not just to record a win but also to improve their Net Run Rate which took a severe hit after the loss in their first Super Eight game. Afghanistan are placed third with a NRR of -2.350 and it will be an uphill task for them to improve that as well as move up in the points table in a group which also consists Bangladesh.
While Rahmanullah Gurbaz (178 runs) and Ibrahim Zadran (160) have been at the forefront of Afghanistan batting, they need more from their middle and lower-order batters in terms of contribution.
Both Fazalhaq Farooqi (15 wickets) and Rashid Khan (9) have made life tough for batters consistently across varied pitches in the Americas and they will be crucial to stop the battery of in-form Australian batters who like to keep things in their control.
Afghanistan showed their all-round skills in the group stage to finish second behind the West Indies but they will have to find their 'A' game to stop the 2021 winners Australia, who have notched up five wins in a row.
At the top, David Warner (169 runs) and Travis Head's (179) destructive opening pair can take down the best of bowling attacks and in such a scenario, Rashid's use of Farooqi and himself could have a big impact on the proceedings.
The two teams last met in the ODI World Cup in 2023. It was in Mumbai where Glenn Maxwell had played a once-in-a-generation knock to notch up a sensational double hundred while battling cramps all over his body, with Pat Cummins in tow who provided sturdy support from the other end. Afghanistan would certainly be motivated to exact revenge for that loss in a format wherein they feel most comfortable and have the skills and mindset to excel but it remains to be seen if Rashid's side can execute their plans to perfection.
Like South Africa, Mitchell Marsh's Australia have established themselves as one of the formidable sides in the tournament with plenty of firepower in their ranks.
Maxwell's form remains a concern but Australia have a perfect cover in Tim David, the burly all-rounder who has also been honing his skills as a leg-spinner in order to add more to the bowling strength.
Marcus Stoinis' presence in the middle and lower order makes Australia's batting look deeper and his current form - 156 runs in three matches at 190.24 - makes him one to watch out for.
Pat Cummins' hat-trick in the last game against Scotland notwithstanding, the Australians will be challenged to improve their fielding in general after they spilled a total of six catches in which Marsh alone dropped three.
Adam Zampa (11) is ranked second in the list of most wicket-takers in this World Cup and the leg-spinner remains Australia's best bet with the ball after the big three quicks.
Teams (from):
Australia: Mitchell Marsh (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner and Adam Zampa.
Afghanistan: Rashid Khan (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Nangyal Kharoti,Hazratullah Zazai , Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik.
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