Wins over India and New Zealand have boosted Pakistan’s morale but there has been a sudden change in their performance which Afghanistan can take advantage of.
The Babar Azam-led side will certainly start as the winning contenders in the match but Afghanistan cannot be taken lightly. He is capable of challenging any team in the presence of batsmen with crisp shots and world class spinners.
Afghanistan’s batsmen dominated the Scottish bowlers in the previous match with their powerful shots but now they face an attack that is considered to be the most dangerous in the competition.
Afghanistan batsmen cannot blindly bat in front of Pakistan bowlers and they have to bat carefully.
If Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran are adept at making shots all around the field, then world-class spinners like Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-ur Rahman make Afghanistan a very balanced team.
It would be the best option for Afghanistan to bat first after winning the toss as Rashid and Mujeeb have the ability to curb even the best batsmen in the world. After that the batsmen can strategize according to the conditions. They don’t lack the spirit but they don’t have the experience to handle the pressure of big matches.
The manner in which Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf have troubled the batsmen so far, it can be said that Afghanistan’s batsmen will be tested hard against this trio of fast bowling Pakistan.
Apart from this, experienced off-spinners Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan in Pakistan’s spin department have made the challenge very tough for Afghanistan.
In such a situation, if Afghanistan has to win the match, then its bowlers will have to put pressure on the Pakistani batsmen.
Captain Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have played a good role in Pakistan’s top order so far. If both fail, Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez will have to take charge.
A third successive win will boost Pakistan’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals as they will then face relatively weaker teams like Scotland and Namibia.
The teams are as follows:
Afghanistan: Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi (Captain), Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hamid Hassan , Fareed Ahmed.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (Captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim Sohaib Maqsood.
The match will start at 7.30 pm Indian time.