Afghanistan has struggled so far in the tournament. They are yet to win a game and have had problems with their batting in all their four games so far. They have struggled to string together good partnerships and have not been able to post good enough scores for their bowling to defend. The absence of Mohammad Shahzad has left a huge void at the top of the order and the rest of the batting hasn’t been able to stand up to be counted.
The bowling attack has been decent for Afghanistan. They depend solely on their spin attack and the pitches this time in England haven’t been helping the tweakers. Even though Afghanistan has some good pacers they haven’t been able to provide breakthroughs with the new ball to allow Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi to capitalize on. They would need lots of improvement in both disciplines of the game to challenge a strong team like England.
For England though they are in great shape at the moment. Their only blip so far has been the loss to Pakistan but they have recovered well and are well and truly progressing towards the final four spots. Their batting has been the strength but with Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett their bowling has been strong as well. Chris Woakes has done brilliantly with the ball as well. The only concern they have in batting is the injury to Jason Roy, who will be missing the next 2 games. This means that James Vince will get his first crack at the top of the order in this world cup.
The other major concern they have is their spin department. Moeen Ali has been struggling with both bat and ball and Adil Rashid hasn’t been in great form either. England will want to iron that out before their big games against India and Australia. They might probably give Liam Dawson a go in this game to see how he goes.
Head to head:
There isn’t much to go on in terms of head to head record between these two teams as they have just played once with England emerging victorious.
Jonny Bairstow (England): England will be missing Jason Roy for this game and Jonny Bairstow will be partnering with James Vince for the first time in this world cup. Bairstow has been in good form and will be key to providing England with a good start.
Adil Rashid (England): Rashid hasn’t been in great touch in this world cup and this might be his opportunity to get some form back with the ball. England has been all pace so far in this tournament and with wickets possibly getting slower later in the tournament, he needs to be in the zone for England. So this will be a crucial game for him in that regard.
Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan): Afghanistan batting has been struggling and as an experienced all-rounder Mohammad Nabi will be crucial to galvanizing the team together for this important game. He has had an okay time with the ball but his batting is what which will be important for Afghanistan.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan): Rashid Khan is Afghanistan’s star player. He is a brilliant white ball cricketer and has been bowling well for them in this world cup as well. With not a very potent pace attack his bowling in the middle overs will be very important in picking wicked and stemming runs. Considering England’s struggles with spin, he may be the Trump card for the Afghanistan team.
What they said?
“If Ed Smith came to myself and Trevor Bayliss and said he felt that Alex was the best option, we would have to assess how that would sit in the changing room and the stigma it would bring with Alex coming back in. It’s not something that we’ve talked about – we’ve not talked about replacing any player and that’s a real positive within itself. If we need to talk about players, we will at some stage.” Said Eoin Morgan about the injury to Jason Roy and possibility of getting Alex Hales as the replacement.
“We are trying to do our best in the matches, but if I look, my team, I didn’t like how we played last time. So unlike last one year, last two years. But we trying to put everything in the middle. It is bad that we didn’t well in the last four games.” Said Gulbadin Naib hoping for a better show from his players.
James Vince, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood/Liam Dawson, Adil Rashid
Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib (capt), Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (WK), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan
Afghanistan is a decent white ball side but again you would think this bridge is too far for them to cross. The English team is in the top of their powers at the moment and despite a couple of concerns with their combination, they should still win this game comfortably.