Two points in the bag for India
Another one-sided contest looms in Southampton tomorrow as a winless-Afghanistan comes up against the undefeated-Indians. After a relatively positive start (albeit in a losing cause), Afghanistan have been thrashed in their past three group stage matches in dare I say it, pretty ugly fashion. In what appears to be a logjam at the top end of the points table, expect it to get even more claustrophobic in the top four as India heads into this match with a 99% probability of winning.
It looks as if Australia, New Zealand, England and India will all be competing for a spot in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup final, however it’s not written in stone just yet. This game against the World Cup minnows has come just at the right time for India, the loss of Shikhar Dhawan who’s just recently been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament through injury means that KL Rahul will be the teams second permanent-opener alongside Rohit Sharma. Speaking of Rohit, he’s been the star of the show for India so far in the 2019 World Cup with the bat. The destructive Indian opener has already blitzed two centuries in the tournament against South Africa and Pakistan, will Afghanistan be his third victim? The loss of Dhawan isn’t ideal, but at the same time India aren’t starved of batting options. Skipper Virat Kohli who’s ODI average is almost 60 comes in at No. 3, than you’ve got MS Dhoni and the all-rounders who are lively-strikers. Rishabh Pant has been named as Dhawan’s replacement, and he could possibly slot into the XI as soon as tomorrow. Rashid Khan’s expensive day out for Afghanistan where he was bullied by the English batsmen was a rarity, that doesn’t hide the fact that he went for 0/110 off his nine overs!
Inexperience in a World Cup is always going to make things difficult, but Afghanistan have been constantly shooting themselves in the foot as well. dumbfounding and just plain stupid changes to the team throughout the tournament hasn’t helped the World Cup minnows at all. The decision to drop one of their more consistent performers Najibullah Zadran against South Africa seemed harsh, and just recently their two specialist seamers Hamid Hassan and Aftab Alam who troubled the Proteas openers. Dawlat Zadran was a good inclusion against England, but not at the expense of Alam or Hassan. They have a huge task ahead of them, India won’t show any mercy which means a 400+ total isn’t out of the question. Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is expected to miss the next 2-3 games with a hamstring injury, opening the door for Mohammed Shami who is yet to feature in this World Cup. This game has Jasprit Bumrah written all over it, the star-quick should dominate if the conditions are conducive.
Top 5 fantasy picks – Afghanistan
- Hashmatullah Shahidi
- Gulbadin Naib
- Rashid Khan
- Dawlat Zadran
- Mohammad Nabi
Wildcard pick – Asghar Afghan
Top 5 fantasy picks – India
- Rohit Sharma
- Hardik Pandya
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Virat Kohli
- KL Rahul
Wildcard pick – Mohammed Shami
Predicted Team XI’s
Afghanistan (possible) – 1. Noor Ali Zadran/Hazratullah Zazai 2. Gulbadin Naib (c) 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi 5. Asghar Afghan 6. Najibullah Zadran 7. Mohammad Nabi 8. Rashid Khan 9. Ikram Alikhil (wk) 10. Dawlat Zadran 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman/Aftab Alam.
India (possible) – 1. KL Rahul 2. Rohit Sharma 3. Virat Kohli (c) 4. Hardik Pandya 5. MS Dhoni (wk) 6. Vijay Shankar/Rishabh Pant 7. Kedar Jadhav 8. Ravindra Jadeja 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Mohammed Shami 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
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.