World Cup minnows come up against rejuvenated Australia
Afghanistan’s smiling assassin gets set to take on some of his Australian teammates in T20 competitions around the world in what is sure to be a fascinating contest. Rashid Khan is an individual that has already mastered the art of spin bowling in the shortest format of the game at just 20-years of age, now he faces his biggest challenge on arguably cricket’s biggest stage. Can Afghanistan make a lasting impression in this year’s World Cup? We’re about to find out in the coming weeks.
Qualifying for the 2019 ICC World Cup was a huge step forward for the country of Afghanistan, many teams have come and gone over the past four-five World Cup’s but this “so called” cricketing minnow looks a lot more comfortable at International level compared to their previous competitors. Up against one of the biggest powerhouses in World Cup history in their opening match, it’s uncertain as to how they’ll cope. Defeating Pakistan in their first warm-up match would’ve given them a lot of confidence, their two star players & spinners in Mohammad Nabi (3/46) and Rashid Khan (2/27) did most of the damage with the ball. Sweating on the fitness of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad for this opening game against the Aussies, the big man would be a huge loss. To their credit, Afghanistan actually has a reasonably-structured batting unit, and they’ll need it against the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins throwing down fireballs from both ends.
Rahmat Shah is by far Afghanistan’s best batsmen in the team, averaging 36.38 in 61 ODI’s including four hundreds. Yes, it’s Afghanistan, but Aaron Finch and his side won’t be falling into the complacent trap anytime soon. Finch himself has again struggled in recent times with the bat, however Steve Smith’s scintillating-form with the willow in the warm-up stages accompanied by Usman Khawaja’s stylish-89 against Sri Lanka and the X factor of Glenn Maxwell ultimately cancels out the skipper’s woes. With David Warner just recently passing a fitness test ahead of Australia’s World Cup opener, one of Usman Khawaja or Shaun Marsh is set to miss out. The Aussies will be looking to win this match comprehensively, and it’s a good opportunity for the likes of Finch and Starc to find some form before playing stronger opponents.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Afghanistan
- Rashid Khan
- Mohammad Nabi
- Rahmat Shah
- Hashmatullah Shahidi
Wildcard pick – Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Top 4 fantasy picks – Australia
- Pat Cummins
- Steve Smith
- David Warner
- Mitchell Starc
Wildcard pick – Adam Zampa
Predicted Team XI’s
Afghanistan (possible) – 1. Mohammad Shahzad/Noor Ali Zadran 2. Hazratullah Zazai 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi 5. Asghar Afghan 6. Gulbadin Naib © 7. Samiullah Shinwari/Najibullah Zadran 8. Mohammad Nabi 9. Rashid Khan 10. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 11. Dawlat Zadran/Aftab Alam.
Australia (possible) – 1. David Warner 2. Aaron Finch © 3. Usman Khawaja 4. Steve Smith 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Marcus Stoinis 7. Alex Carey (wk) 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Jason Behrendorff/Kane Richardson/Nathan Lyon 11. Adam Zampa.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.