APL 2018: Match 2, Kandahar Knights vs Nangarhar Leopards Preview: Star-studded Nangarhar aim to stamp their authority

APL 2018: Match 2, Kandahar Knights vs Nangarhar Leopards Preview: Star-studded Nangarhar aim to stamp their authority

Ben Cutting will be leading Nangarhar in the absence of Andre Russell.

Nangarhar Leopards
Nangarhar Leopards. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Watching both the lineups on paper, it’s a no-brainer that the Nangarhar Leopards have the best bunch of players, but in T20 cricket, nothing can be predicted accurately. The likes of Andre Russell and Tamim Iqbal are not available for selection as yet for the Leopards, despite that they look pretty strong on paper.

Ben Cutting will be leading Nangarhar in Russell’s absence whilst Kandahar will be depending a lot on their experienced players like Brendon McCullum, Paul Stirling, Asghar Afghan, and Najibullah Zadran. Asghar Afghan has some interesting bowling options as well, which includes the very talented Tymal Mills.

The duo of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Zahir Khan ran riot in the U19 World Cup earlier this year and they’ll be together in action yet again for Nangarhar. With experience on one side and the exuberance of youth on the other, this game promises to be a proper Saturday blockbuster.

Playing combinations

Kandahar Knights

Paul Stirling and Brendon McCullum’s explosive nature at the top is something the Knights will be banking on heavily. They have decent experience in the middle order as with the presence of skipper Asghar and Najibullah Zadran. Tymal Mills will lead the bowling attack and will be accompanied by UAE’s medium pacer Mohammad Naveed and local left-arm spinner Amir Hamza.

Predicted XI: Paul Stirling, Karim Sadiq, Brendon McCullum, Asghar Afghan(C), Najibullah Zadran, Ashish Bagai (wk), Karim Janat, Tymal Mills, Amir Hamza, Sayed Shirzad, Mohammad Naveed

Nangarhar Leopards

Kiwi opener Anton Devcich will open the batting alongside Najeeb Tarakai with Andre Fletcher, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, and Ben Cutting forming a formidable middle order. Mitchell McClenaghan will be the key with the ball and the two incredible spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Zahir Khan will certainly make life difficult for their opponents.

Predicted XI: Anton Devcich, Najeeb Tarakai, Andre Fletcher (wk), Rahmat Shah, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ben Cutting (C), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Zahir Khan, Mitchell McClenaghan

Focus will be on

Brendon McCullum (Kandahar Knights)

Arguably one of the greatest strikers of the cricket ball, Brendon McCullum needs no specific introduction. The Kiwi legend retired a couple of years ago from International cricket but is continuing to entertain crowds in various T20 leagues. It was his knock all those years ago which kick-started the enigmatic IPL and something similar is always on cards when players of his caliber take the center-stage.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Nangarhar Leopards)

The teenage sensation has quickly turned out to be one of the brightest prospects in world cricket right now. Mujeeb Ur Rahman is coming into this tournament after a spectacular Asia Cup campaign and will be keen to replicate his heroics for the Leopards. This tournament will be a stern test of character as he’ll be hogging a lot of attention from the crowd.

Stat Attack

6 – Mitchell McClenghan needs 6 wickets to complete 200 scalps in T20s

21 – Asghar Afghan needs 21 runs to complete 1,500 runs in T20s.

38 – Brendon McCullum needs 38 runs to complete 9,500 runs in T20s.

Broadcast details

TV – D Sport

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