ICC World Cup 2019 – Match 13: AFG vs NZ – Afghanistan Predicted Playing XI

ICC World Cup 2019 – Match 13: AFG vs NZ – Afghanistan Predicted Playing XI

Will Afghanistan be able to overcome the batting woes against a strong New Zealand bowling attack?

Hamid Hassan
Hamid Hassan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After a gap of about 20 years, The Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton will be hosting an ODI match. Afghanistan will be up against an unbeaten New Zealand team who have played clinical cricket in both the games thus far. The Asian team, though, has been facing several problems with the batting and injuries have only made things worse now.

They were reduced to 77/5 in their first game and then, were down to 57/5 against Australia. Most of the batsmen in this line-up have been frantic and it won’t be easy for them to deal with the New Zealand pacers. While this game is expected to be a one-sided contest, they might be some competition if the Afghan batters play to their full potential.

Here is the Predicted Playing XI for Afghanistan:

Openers (Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai)

Noor Ali Zadran
Noor Ali Zadran. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

With Mohammad Shahzad out of the tournament, Noor Ali Zadran could come into the side in his place. The 30-year-old is someone who could possibly stick around and be the anchor in the top-order. However, the possibility of having former skipper, Asghar Afghan, in the eleven can’t be completely ruled out. In that case, either he could open the innings or it could be Rahmat Shah.

Hazratullah Zazai has had two successive failures in the tournament now. The youngster tried to curb his aggressive instinct against Sri Lanka and looked to play the long innings. However, his temperament didn’t help his cause as he attempted a big shot when he was on 30. An excellent effort from Thisara Perera brought an end to his innings. Zazai should look to get to at least fifty in the next game. But it won’t be easy against the quick New Zealand pacers.

Middle Order (Rahmat Shah (wk), Hashmatullah Shahidi)

Hashmatullah Shahidi
Hashmatullah Shahidi. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghanistan should either play Ikram Ali Khil in the eleven or they could explore the possibility of Rahmat Shah keeping the wickets. The 25-year-old has kept the wickets at the highest level previously and is expected to do it in the upcoming game as well. He has also been one of the most unfazed batsmen in this team. Shah has shown great temperament and will have a massive role in the next game.

Hashmatullah Shahidi is the other player who will hold onto his spot in the playing eleven. The left-hander has looked comfortable than most of the other batsmen in the side. He did well in the practice games but it is important for him to replicate those performances at this level. If Shahidi could rotate the strike more often, that will ease a lot of pressure and he will have an opportunity to do better.

All Rounders (Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib (c), Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan)

Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Being the senior-most member of the side, Mohammad Nabi must take more responsibility with the bat. He seems to be taking too much pressure at the moment after the top-order collapses. Rather, he should look to bat freely and play his natural game. With the ball, he has been excellent and it was he who initiated the collapse of Sri Lanka in the last game.

While Gulbadin Naib has been trying to give his best with the bat, he has been doing a fair job with the ball. He should continue leading his troops from the front. Najibullah Zadran, easily, looks to be the best batsman in this team. He has applied himself extremely well and is churning out the runs for Afghanistan. Rashid Khan, meanwhile, is doing his job perfectly with the ball. He was highly economical in the last match and even picked up two wickets. Afghanistan should look to introduce him into the attack early and must make optimum use of his skill.

Bowlers (Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman)

Hamid Hassan
Hamid Hassan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hasan should mostly get another game. With someone like Aftab Alam waiting in the ranks, these two pacers should look to perform better. Mujeeb Ur Rahman just bowled three overs in the last game. While they will all mostly play in the upcoming match, there could also be a possibility where the management would look to strengthen the batting line-up.

In such a scenario, both Noor Ali Zadran and Asghar Afghan could play in the eleven. Or if they fancy having Ikram Ali Khil, they will have to leave one of these three players out. Mujeeb Ur Rahman might be the one who could be left out. But if the conditions are in favour of spin, then one of the pacers should warm the bench.