Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 2 – Pakistan vs Afghanistan – Afghanistan Predicted XI

Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 2 – Pakistan vs Afghanistan – Afghanistan Predicted XI

They are riding high on confidence, but the biggest challenge lies ahead as they now have to combat the wrath of the heavyweights India and Pakistan. 

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

A few years ago, not many would’ve considered Afghanistan even as a dark horse in the Asia Cup, but now, they certainly stand a chance of winning the tournament. They are riding high on confidence, but the biggest challenge lies ahead as they now have to combat the wrath of the heavyweights India and Pakistan.

They will kick-start their Super Fours campaign with a clash against Pakistan. The Men in Green are coming into this game after an embarrassing defeat against their arch-rivals India. They will be keen to get back to form, which won’t be easy against this Afghan contingent.

This clash certainly will go down the wire as both sides seem pretty strong. But the game will be won and lost in the middle overs where the spinners will operate and Afghanistan clearly have the better spinners. Here’s the predicted playing eleven of the Afghan unit for this all-important clash.

Openers (Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat)

The very audacious and experienced Mohammad Shahzad is a key member of the side. He has the ability to give the team a quickfire start, which can do wonders on tracks like these which are slightly on the slower side.

Ihsanullah Janat will be keen to build another decent inning, just the way he did in the game against Sri Lanka. He looked composed and relaxed in his 65-ball 45. If the right-hander can get going again, Shahzad will have more freedom at the top.

Middle order – Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan (C), Hasmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran

Rahmat Shah chipped in with a brilliant knock in the first match and will be keen to deliver another one in this game. Skipper Asghar Afghan will also be keen to get amongst the runs, which he failed to do in his previous outing.

Following these two gentlemen in the middle order will be Hasmatullah Shahidi and Najibullah Zadran. Both of these cricketers didn’t get a lot of exposure of late, but they do possess the ability to chip in with considerable contributions when needed.

All-rounders – Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib

After his half-century against Bangladesh, it’d be fair to say that Rashid Khan qualifies more as an all-rounder. He can rescue the side with the bat and ball like no other, a feature very few cricketers possess. Certainly, he has the potential to become one of the best in the generation.

The highly experienced Mohammad Nabi can never be ignored. He’s one of the catalysts behind the drastic rise of Afghan cricket and he’s always an important player. Gulbadin Naib too is chipping in with consistent performances, much to the delight of their skipper.

Bowlers – Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Aftam Alam is taking the mantle on himself with the new ball and almost every game, he’s picking up a wicket in the first 10 overs. His skipper has been very smart when it comes to using him but against Pakistan, his challenge will get a bit more difficult.

The spin duo of Rashid and Mujeeb easily qualifies as one of the best spin-partnerships in the world. Mujeeb keeps hitting the right areas consistently and gives no room for the batters. If he can deliver another good performance, Afghanistan might as well register the biggest win of their career.

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