Pakistan Afghanistan Set To Renew Budding Rivalry Asia Cup 2018 Super Four Match 2 Preview > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Pakistan, Afghanistan set to renew budding rivalry

Cricket news - Pakistan, Afghanistan set to renew budding rivalry

There is an air of intrigue surrounding the emerging cricket rivalry between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's set in the backdrop of political tensions as well as the goodwill between the two cricketing nations that dates back to a few decades. In the 1990s, cricket became popular among the refugees of Afghanistan living in Peshawar, Pakistan. Pakistan was also the first Full Member of ICC who played an ODI versus Afghanistan during the 2011-12 season.

However, in the recent past, the relationship between the two boards have soured, especially in the wake of Afghanistan deciding not to play T20 friendlies against Pakistan last year due to a bomb blast in Kabul. Away from political tensions, the two teams will renew their rivalry when they take on each other in their Super Four clash of Asia Cup 2018 in Abu Dhabi. The two sides have had slightly contrasting fortunes in their path to the Super Four. Afghanistan posted convincing wins against both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to progress to the next stage, while Pakistan slid to a eight-wicket loss versus arch-rivals India.

Afghanistan's surge to Super Four has been led by the spin twins - Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The spinners have choked the opposition ranks with their excellent control and picked up six between them so far. Rashid and Mujeeb will look to continue their good form against Pakistan, who in turn struggled to force the pace in their last game against India. Gulbadin Naib, the seam-bowling all-rounder, and Aftab Alam also would have a part to play, as under lights the ball has swung and nipped around in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's batting line-up will revolve around Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi. Lower down the order, Rashid has provided the impetus to the innings, capsulised by his game-changing 95-run stand with Naib versus Bangladesh. On the other hand, Pakistan would look to put behind their loss against India and start afresh.

The batting unit would be an area of concern for the think-tank as against India they lost their last eight wickets for just 77 runs. They tend to depend on Fakhar Zaman to provide the platform at the top of the order with his blazing starts. Pakistan, however, possess fine pace bowling stocks comprising Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan and Usman Khan.

When: September 21 at 3:30 PM Local Time, 5:00 PM IST

Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

What to expect: With the Abu Dhabi stadium expected to be baked in sunshine, the team winning the toss would most likely bat first. Pacers have also found some assistance under lights, especially in Abu Dhabi.

Team News

Afghanistan: With Afghanistan emerging triumphant against Bangladesh, they may resist the temptation to make changes to their line-up.

Probable XI: Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Pakistan: Amir bowled zestful spells in the game against India, but this year he has bagged just three scalps at an average of 87 in ODIs. So there is a chance that Pakistan could leave him out. As Shadab Khan is down with a niggle, Mohammad Nawaz may come into the equation.

Probable XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan/ Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan/Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan

Did you know?

- The two teams have played against each other only twice in ODIs, with Pakistan winning both of them.

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