After losing two consecutive matches, Indian cricket team will look to register their first win and bring their struggling campaign back on track when they face a confident Afghanistan in a super 12 clash of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, here on Wednesday.
The Virat Kohli-led India have suffered crushing defeats against Pakistan and New Zealand in their last two matches while Afghanistan won their two games against Scotland and Namibia but they lost to Pakistan.
In their last against Kiwis, India shuffled the batting order as Ishan Kishan, who replaced the injured Suryakumar Yadav, opened the batting alongside Kl Rahul. However, the move to push Ishan at the top and demote regular opener Rohit Shrama at No 3 didn’t produce great results for India.
Many former cricketers and experts have criticised the team management for demoting Rohit and it remains to be seen whether the star opener will bat at his regular position in the upcoming match or not.
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya, too, hasn’t impressed anyone with his performance and Suryakumar Yadav could take his place in the side for the Afghanistan clash if he becomes fit and available for the selection. Team can also look towards the inclusion of ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the team in place of Varun Chakravarthy, who has failed to deliver under pressure.
On the other hand, Afghanistan has played impressive attacking cricket so far in the tournament and they are high on confidence. The likes of Mohammed Nabi and Rashid Khan will look to use their all T20 experience to challenge an under-confident Indian side.
Young spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman missed the last encounter against Namibia because of his injury and Hamid Hassan, who replaced him, picked up three wickets for just nine runs in four overs. However, Mujeeb is likely to find a place in the Afghanistan’s playing XI considering Indian batters struggle against spinners in the last two games.
The likes of Hazratullah Zazai, Ahmed Shahzad, Gulbadin Naib will be also keen to continue their entertaining performances with the bat.
After losing two consecutive games, India’s fate is not in their own hands and another defeat will confirm their early exit from the T20 World Cup. They will have to win their remaining matches by big margins to ensure their net run rate can be improved and they stand a chance at qualifying.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vc), Kl Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Ravichandran Ashwin
Afghanistan: Mohammed Nabi (captain), Hazratullah Zazai, Ahmed Shahzad, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Rashid Kham, Hamid Hasan, Rahamnaullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Fareed Ahmed, Usman Ghani.