Afghanistan and Pakistan will face off in the World Cup contest for the first time. The last time they met each other was in the World Cup warm-up game where Afghanistan won the match. Afghanistan has nothing to lose while Pakistan needs to win at any cost to stay in the hunt of the semi-final spot. A new rivalry to start between the two nations after the controversial comment made by former Pakistani bowler, Shoaib Akhtar (video below).
Pakistan has won its last two games and has found the form at the right time. All they have to do is to win the next two games, one against Afghanistan and one against Bangladesh. Pakistan’s most significant improvement has been in their batting, with Babar Azam and Haris Sohail in top form, the batting has found some stability.
The bowling unit is firing all cylinders and would be waiting for the inexperienced batting line up of Afghanistan to bundle them out for a low total. The fielding is still an issue and needs improvement. Catches win matches especially in do or die games.
Afghanistan, still looking for their maiden win in this World Cup would be eager to beat Pakistan after Shoaib Akhtar’s controversial comment in his youtube video degrading the Afghanistani cricket and its people.
Shoaib Akhtar's message for Afghanistan and their cricket board ahead of clash with Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/cNynasUWbc
— Ashar Jawad (@AsharJawad) June 28, 2019
Afghanistan has some serious talent, and they have shown it in the matches against Sri Lanka and India.
Players to watch out for
Babar Azam, one of the best ODI batsman from Pakistan, still in his early ODI career, has played one of the most precious knocks of Pakistan’s World Cup campaign against New Zealand. He along with Haris Sohail will again be looking for adding runs in middle overs. If he plays well, Pakistan will have more chances to put a big total in the match.
This is Rashid Khan’s last chance to show his class in the World Cup. He will be part of the next match against West Indies but taking wickets against Pakistan would be different feelings altogether especially after that comment from Akhtar. His leg spin can fox the Pakistani batsmen, and can also score some runs in the slog overs.
Afghanistan v Pakistan in ODIs:
Overall: Matches 3, Afghanistan Won 0, Pakistan Won 3
World Cup: Yet to play
Recent Form (most recent first): Afghanistan L L L L L, Pakistan W W L L NR
ICC Rankings: Afghanistan (10), Pakistan (6)
Shoaib Malik has taken 98 catches and needs two more to reach the 100 catches milestone.
Samiullah Shinwari has taken 45 wickets and needs five more to reach the 50 wickets milestone, and also the 1,000 runs/50 wickets milestone.
Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (capt), Aftab Alam, Asghar Afghan, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shinwari.
Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.