Date & Time: Saturday, June 01, 18:00 IST
Venue: County Ground, Bristol, England
A tale of 2 extremes in the World Cup
The 5 time World Cup winners Australia will take on Afghanistan, who will participate in their 2nd ever 50-over World Cup in the second game of the double header on super Saturday. This match marks the official return for the tainted duo Steve Smith and David Warner. Australia have won 8 consecutive ODI matches coming into this World Cup and are being touted as one of the favorites now. But before those 8 victories, they won only 2 of their 14 matches. Afghanistan meanwhile are growing in stature and after a successful 2018 Asia Cup, where they managed to defeat Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and tied the game with India, they would be hoping to make an impact in this tournament too.
Players likely to miss out on this game for Australia- Nathan Coulter-Nile Kane Richardson Shaun Marsh Adam Zampa/Nathan Lyon Players likely to miss out on this game for Afghanistan- Hamid Hassan Najibullah Zadran Samiullah Shinwari Noor Ali Zadran
The last 2 scores posted by teams batting 1st at this venue are 358 and 369. We can expect another high scoring match especially if Australia is batting first, given that they have such a strong batting lineup.
Steve Smith might have missed the whole year without playing top level cricket, but the way he has come back and scored runs in the games prior to World Cup is just stunning. He registered scores of 89*, 91*, 76 and 116 in the last 4 games of 50-over format in the last month. He might receive hostile reception from the English fans but Steve Smith might just take it in his stride and perform with the bat to earn some respect.
Pat Cummins is the highest wicket taker for Australia in the last couple of years in ODI cricket with 31 wickets in 20 matches, and he also has an impressive economy rate of 4.76. With Mitchell Starc also back into the scheme of things, they can inflict heavy damage to the opposition batsmen.
For the last 2 to 3 years, Rashid Khan has been the most reliable spin bowler in white ball format irrespective of the conditions. He has played 11 ODIs in Ireland and Scotland (conditions much similar to England) and has picked up 19 wickets. Although they are lower ranked teams, he has been the most impressive bowler on those matches. Making 46 Dream Team Appearances in 52 ODI matches is nothing short of an astonishing feat.
Usman Khawaja has been in stupendous form of late in the white ball format for Australia. He averages around 60 in the last year and has scored 769 runs in 13 matches. He returns with an average of 38 points per match in the last 6 months of ODI cricket and we are predicting him to bag bulk of points in today’s game against Afghanistan.