Ominous signs for England ahead of one-sided contest at Old Trafford
Coming up against a winless-Afghanistan at Old Trafford, England find themselves in a prime position to take the two points and potentially increase their net run rate in the process. It’s never pretty watching lop-sided match-ups such as this one, however it is a World Cup which gives the more dominant teams a license to kill. With the constant threat of rain on everyone’s mind, bowling first seems to be a trend in the 2019 ICC World Cup for a number of reasons. If England wins the toss, they’ll have no hesitations whatsoever sending Afghanistan in to bat first.
A match that is destined to only go one way, both teams will still be looking to gain something from this fixture. A win would be handy for Afghanistan, they currently sit at the bottom of the World Cup points table with four losses to their name. Unluckily for Afghanistan, they are one of the few teams who are yet to experience a washout which results in an automatic point to each team. Instead, they are the only team yet to register a single-point in this year’s ICC World Cup. They’ve got a more than capable bowling unit when it comes to challenging an opposition, their batting on the other hand tells a completely different story. It’s put a lot of pressure on the likes of star-duo Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi which was always going to be an issue for a team like Afghanistan. It’s a shame really, they’ve got two exceptional new ball bowlers in Hamid Hassan and Aftab Alam working in tandem with the spinners, they just need a decent total to defend. They’ll have their hands full against a red-hot Joe Root who’s averaging an impressive 93 with two centuries already in this year’s World Cup.
Experimentation isn’t on England’s agenda, Eoin Morgan made that crystal clear in a recent press conference. What is unclear at this particular point in time is the availability of both himself and Jason Roy ahead of tomorrows World Cup fixture at Old Trafford. In England’s recent win against the West Indies, Morgan suffered a back spasm and Jason Roy supposedly-tweaked his hamstring, both left the field and didn’t feature in the run chase. The good news is that both players have been cleared of any serious damage and are a good chance to line-up against Afghanistan. James Vince and Moeen Ali are potential replacements if the pair is declared ‘unfit’. One, potentially even two English bowlers could have a big day out with the ball tomorrow. Jofra Archer is the obvious candidate to rip through Afghanistan’s line-up, the newly-capped Englishman has already taken 9 wickets in four World Cup games and could be eyeing off a maiden five-wicket haul. They have plenty of fast bowling options at their disposal, leggy Adil Rashid looms as a potential game-breaker in this one as well.
Top 5 fantasy picks – Afghanistan
- Noor Ali Zadran
- Rashid Khan
- Hashmatullah Shahidi
- Mohammad Nabi
- Gulbadin Naib
Wildcard pick – Najibullah Zadran
Top 5 fantasy picks – England
- Jofra Archer
- Joe Root
- Jonny Bairstow
- Chris Woakes
- Jos Buttler
Wildcard pick – Adil Rashid
Predicted Team XI’s
Afghanistan (possible) – 1. Hazratullah Zazai 2. Noor Ali Zadran 3. Hashmatullah Shahidi 4. Asghar Afghan 5. Mohammad Nabi 6. Gulbadin Naib (c) 7. Najibullah Zadran 8. Ikram Alikhil (wk) 9. Rashid Khan 10. Hamid Hassan/Dawlat Zadran 11. Aftab Alam.
England (possible) – 1. Jason Roy/James Vince 2. Jonny Bairstow 3. Joe Root 4. Jos Buttler (wk) 5. Eoin Morgan 6. Ben Stokes 7. Chris Woakes 8. Liam Plunkett 9. Jofra Archer 10. Adil Rashid 11. Mark Wood.
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.