Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Afghanistan's chance to fine-tune things before India, New Zealand come calling. Afghanistan and Namibia have never played a T20I against each other
Afghanistan and Namibia have never played a T20I against each other
Afghanistan find themselves in a position they are not quite used to. After two games, they are second in Group 2 and have a realistic chance of progressing to the semifinals. There are, of course, bigger challenges ahead. They will need to beat both or one of India or New Zealand to have a shot but if the performance against Pakistan is anything to go by, they are going to pose a serious threat to both Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson's men.
If teams batting first have been undone by their conservative approach so far in the tournament, Afghanistan are trying to redefine their approach. They've been adventurous in the two matches so far and will test the temperament of Namibia's four left-arm quicks. Naveen ul Haq acknowledged the team environment was a bit dull after the loss and the players will hope to make short work of the Namibia challenge before India and New Zealand come calling.
Namibia, on the other hand, are the success story of T20 WC 2021 and have exceeded expectations. While the next three matches won't be easy, it'll be naive to think they won't bother the big teams.
When: Afghanistan vs Namibia, Super 12, Group 2, 14:00 Local, 15:30 IST
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: Abu Dhabi has been the toughest venue to start off during the Super 12 for batters with 14 wickets lost in the powerplay in six innings and the economy has been just 5.14. Both Afghanistan and Namibia have largely preferred to defend in T20Is since the 2016 World Cup but expect the team to win the toss and chase in this clash.
T20I Head to Head: Afghanistan and Namibia have never played a T20I against each other. When the two teams met in T20s, Afghanistan prevailed in both encounters.
Injury/Availability Concerns: There were no injury concerns reported ahead of the contest. Asghar Afghan will play his final international match for Afghanistan and has announced his retirement.
Tactics & Matchups: It was only the second time in T20 cricket that a team decided to go in with four left-arm pacers. Namibia will continue to persist with that attack and the onus will on the Afghanistan batters to ensure they don't concede too many wickets to the pacers. They can then afford to attack the spinners – Namibia's weak link.
Probable XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Karim Janat/Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb ur Rahman.
Injury/Availability Concerns: Namibia have had a three-day break and have all their players available for selection.
Tactics & Matchups: Namibia have been guilty of slow starts and it'll be crucial they attack the Afghanistan pacers early on. In four matches so far, Namibia have scored at more than six runs per over just once. Afghanistan will aim to hurt Namibia with their spinners and the Namibia batters are set for a stern test against Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
Probable XI: Craig Williams, Zane Green (wk), Gerhard Erasmus (c), David Wiese, Michael van Lingen, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz
Did you know?
– Namibia spinners have taken only two wickets in four games this T20 WC.
– Afghanistan have won all their 10 day matches defending a score since the T20 WC in 2016.
What they said:
“I think the table is right open. There are three teams that will be fighting for that (second) spot because India has played one and lost one. And New Zealand has played one and lost one. We'll be having a great contest, great matchup coming up with them in a week's time. So you can't say much at the moment who will be qualifying. It's only Pakistan who has made it through. But there is still one spot” – Naveen ul Haq.