Afghanistan's bowlers face another stern test in Delhi's challenging conditions.


Afghanistan’s bowlers face another stern test in Delhi’s challenging conditions.

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Hashmatullah Shahidi’s perspective is firmly rooted in the present, as he made clear during his inaugural World Cup press conference. When questioned about the pressures of a major tournament and recent setbacks for his team, he emphasized their distinctiveness.

We’re different,” he iterated.

To succeed, they indeed must be different from the side that recently faced Rohit Sharma and the one that encountered England’s juggernaut four years ago in Manchester. Shahidi was part of that disheartening day when Eoin Morgan sent the ball soaring into the stands, hitting a record 17 sixes and propelling England to a total of 25, another record at the time. Morgan may no longer be active, but Jos Buttler’s team possesses the potential to be equally devastating.

England is currently like an aircraft, revving up for a high-speed take-off, and the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi, with the World Cup’s worst bowling average (51.32), offers an ideal runway. Afghanistan displayed competence with the bat in their match against India, but it’s their bowling that needs a boost as England eyes not only two points but also an enhancement of their Net Run Rate. How Afghanistan responds will determine the validity of Shahidi’s pre-tournament claims.

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Match Details: Date: 13th October Time: 9:02 AM Local Time Venue: Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi Weather: Expect a scorching evening with temperatures around 34 degrees Celsius when the game begins.

England Team Watch: Ben Stokes’ availability remains uncertain, with Joe Root offering no confirmation. England has the luxury of managing Stokes’s return, possibly saving him for a crucial match against South Africa in Mumbai on October 21. Chris Woakes’s absence from training raises questions, with the possibility of David Willey’s inclusion.

Tactics & Strategy: England will likely relish the run-fest venue. They are expected to be even more aggressive than their 364/9 in Dharamsala, particularly in the last 10 overs, where they only managed 66 runs.

Probable XI: Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Harry Brook/Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes/David Willey, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley.

Afghanistan Team Watch: Afghanistan is unlikely to make significant changes but needs better performance from their bowlers. They may rely on their existing bowlers to step up.

Tactics & Strategy: Afghanistan’s opening pair, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, will be crucial in a ground with short boundaries. Gurbaz has a strong record against left-arm pacers, while Zadran excels against right-arm quicks.

Probable XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman, Rashid Khan, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq.

Key Stats

  • Since 2021, Dawid Malan averages 130.5 and strikes at 105.67 in ODIs during the middle overs (11-40).
  • Rahmat Shah has the most runs in ODIs for Afghanistan since the 2019 World Cup.
  • Mohammad Nabi has a batting average of 21 and a bowling average of 39.7 in ODIs this year.
  • Jos Buttler has struggled in ODIs in India, with 146 runs in 9 innings at an average of 16.22.

Quotes: “I think for me, what I judge is our preparation. We’ve got to make sure that each game we’re going into, we believe that we can win. And I certainly believe that every game we go into from here on, we can win.” – Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott.

I think we weren’t where we wanted to be in the first game. We were considerably better in the last game against Bangladesh and this is another opportunity for us to take another stride forward and keep building that momentum and that progression towards the business end of this tournament and making sure that we are where we need to be by the back end of it.” – Joe Root.


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