Date & Time: Saturday, June 08, 18:00 IST
Venue: The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, England
Both the batting units brace for a quality bowling Challenge
Afghanistan is yet to register a win in the World Cup and they missed a golden opportunity against Sri Lanka a few days ago. Their batting has been a big issue as they scored only one half-century and it will be tested once again against a strong Kiwi attack. On the other side, New Zealand has won both the games played in the tournament. The last scrappy victory against Bangladesh is an area of concern as they found it hard against spin and they are going to face a lot of it against Afghanistan. How well both batting units perform will eventually determine the result of the match on Saturday.
New Zealand is unlikely to change the winning combination. On the other hand, Ikram Ali Khil is likely to replace Shahzad who has been ruled out of the tournament. Apart from that, Afghanistan might bring in Aftab Alam to replace Mujeeb if they consider going with an extra pacer.
The surface in Taunton has been a high scoring one in the recent Royal London ODI Cup, where the average first innings score is around 290. Weather-wise there is a forecast for rain before the match which could well favor pacers early on.
He might have been dismissed by a spinner in the last few games but he is the sides best player of spin. On Saturday it will be a big factor against a team which banks on their spinners to play a big part irrespective of conditions on offer. He is also in good form, which makes him a must have player in Dream11 fantasy cricket team.
He has been the side’s leading run scorer in the last couple of years and at present, it is no different. He scored 255 runs in the last 5 matches. His improved gameplay against spin is also the reason why he is in top form, which will be crucial against Afghanistan.
He is the only Afghan batsmen who seemed to be in some sort of form in the tournament. He played vital knocks against Australia and Sri Lanka. Against New Zealand, there is every chance he will continue the good form as he looked comfortable against pace so far.
In the last game, he showed why he is the best off-spinner going around in this format. He put the pitch and conditions out of the equation and deceived the batsmen out of thin air. If he can continue the same on Saturday, there is every chance the Kiwi batsmen would be fumbling against him, even with the short boundaries.
Apart from N Zardan, no Afghan batsman has looked settled against pace. That’s what makes him a potent option on Saturday, as he already tested a few batsmen in the tournament with his short pitch bowling. So he is a worthy pick for Dream11 fantasy cricket players for today’s match.
The World’s best leg spinner of the T20 format hasn’t been at his best in the ODI format in recent times. But, with the Kiwis not being great players of spin, he can be the game changer of the match if the match turns in his favour. Also, it is worth noting that he can be a dangerous lower order batsman who can come up with handy cameos.