Saturday, May 25, 2024

CRICKET BLOG FOR THE FANS, BY THE FANS

Get your fix of cricket news, opinion, Dream11 fantasy cricket predictions, fan-led content & more.

HomeAfghanistanAsia Cup Super Four: Afghanistan vs Pakistan Preview

Asia Cup Super Four: Afghanistan vs Pakistan Preview

Date:

LATEST STORIES & CRICKET BLOGS

Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Asia Cup 2018 Super Four: Afghanistan vs Pakistan Preview Cricket Blog CricBlog
Image credit: AFP

Like Bangladesh v India, it is a battle of the thrashers vs. the thrashed from the last start efforts, with more at stake in the Super Four stage. I do sound like a whinging baby at times, but with a day off tomorrow for all teams, Afghanistan might be wondering why the game is today instead of tomorrow. For us fans, it would have perhaps been more fitting to catch every game properly, which will be a challenge today, given both games are on at the same time.

Nonetheless, a magnificent opportunity awaits Afghanistan. They, along with India, are the only two undefeated teams in the tournament, and the way they have played suggests they can challenge for a spot in the Final. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh present their own tests, but Pakistan will provide a different challenge. Can Afghanistan continue their great run, led by Rashid Khan, part of their simply awesome spin attack?

In this game, Pakistan’s bounce back ability will be put to the test. Their performance against India was not one of a team who are widely considered much improved, and remain a side that can have too many off-days, despite winning the Champions Trophy last year. It is the business end of the tournament now, and they are up against a side who is playing confidently. Can Pakistan bounce back and take a step towards the Asia Cup Final?

Asia Cup 2018 Super Four: Afghanistan vs Pakistan Preview Cricket Blog CricBlog

Key to an Afghanistan win

Two handsome wins for Afghanistan in this tournament, but their batting is still of concern. 160/7 against Bangladesh is shaky waters, and thanks to Rashid Khan and Gulbadin Naib’s amazing partnership, a total of 255/7 proved way too much for Bangladesh. Their batting was also a tad shaky against Sri Lanka, especially towards the end that time, which creates the need for a full batting effort against a good Pakistan attack.
Can the Afghanistan top order stave off the Pakistan pace threat?
Also, the toss can prove crucial here. The Afghans have displayed their prowess in defending totals so far in Asia Cup 2018, simply too good for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. What impact will the spinners have against a Pakistan side looking to right-the-wrongs from a terrible performance against India?

Key to a Pakistan win

As mentioned, Afghanistan’s batting leaves a bit to be desired at the moment, and Pakistan need to exploit it. Whether Mohammad Amir plays is an interesting dilemma, given he has taken just three wickets in nine ODIs this year, and in matches such as these, early wickets can really push opponents back. Can Pakistan get into Afghanistan’s middle order quickly? 
Also, if you think Pakistan could have an easier time of things by playing Afghanistan after India, think again. The batsmen will be challenged, especially by the spinners, so how they execute their plans against them is vital. Can Pakistan rotate the strike effectively, which will be the basis of a much better batting effort than Wednesday?

Possible XIs

Despite playing yesterday, it makes sense for Afghanistan to stick with a winning combination. Mohammad Shahzad could struggle after all that running between the wickets yesterday!
Afghanistan possible XI: 1. Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2. Ihsanullah, 3. Rahmat Shah, 4. Asghar Afghan (c), 5. Hashmatullah Shahidi, 6. Samiullah Shenwari, 7. Mohammad Nabi, 8. Gulbadin Naib, 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Aftab Alam, 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
There is a possibility Mohammad Amir will be left out for Junaid Khan. Also, Shadab Khan is in big doubt after limping off the field against India.
Pakistan possible XI: 1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Imam-ul-Haq, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Shoaib Malik, 5. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), 6. Asif Ali, 7. Mohmmad Nawaz/Shadab Khan, 8. Faheem Ashraf, 9. Junaid Khan, 10. Hasan Ali, 11. Usman Khan

Stats and Facts

  • Pakistan and Afghanistan have played two ODIs against each other, with Pakistan winning both.
  • Rashid Khan is the only player to take 100 ODI wickets by his 20th birthday.
  • Pakistan, in their last 17 ODIs, have won 11 against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong. Against India and New Zealand, their record is 0-6.

Prediction

What an interesting match this promises to be.
In a tournament bereft of competitive matches, a match difficult to predict is a good change. With Pakistan’s batting likely to hold better than Afghanistan’s, I will count that as the key difference, and go with a Pakistan win.
Thanks for reading!
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

Read the latest cricket stories and news on CricBlog and bet on your favorite cricket teams at 24betting India sportsbook. All new players get a welcome bonus on the first deposit.

LIVE CRICKET SCORES

FUTURE OF CRICKET