ICC World Cup 2019: Match 24, ENG vs AFG – Afghanistan Predicted Playing XI

ICC World Cup 2019: Match 24, ENG vs AFG – Afghanistan Predicted Playing XI

Afghanistan have lost all four matches so far in the tournament.

Afghanistan players
Afghanistan players. (Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Against all the odds, Afghanistan made it to the World Cup’s main tournament having had a dramatic outing in the qualifiers. They churned out some decent results in the Asia Cup and nearly defeated India and Pakistan in the tournament, which made everyone speculate something brilliant from their side for the tournament.

As it turns out, they are not really living up to the expectations they created and experts fear they might experience their worst campaign in an ICC tournament. Gulbadin Naib and his troops need to pull up their socks and keep trusting on the strengths they have, something they haven’t done in the tournament yet.

But Tuesday might not be the day they win their first game as they lock horns with the hot favourites England. The English have registered three wins in their four fixtures, losing only to Pakistan in a high-scoring encounter. It is difficult to see Afghanistan climb this Everest and excel, but in cricket, we never say never.

Openers – Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran

Hazratullah Zazai
Hazratullah Zazai. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Hazratullah Zazai definitely has the talent and those who watched him play have already rated him very highly. But the youngster is lacking the patience to build big knocks and play match-winning roles for the side. He could break all the jinx with one big knock and if he can get that against the English bowling attack, his future would be pretty bright.

Noor Ali Zadran came in as a replacement for Mohammad Shahzad, who was controversially taken off from the squad. He looked very solid with his defensive technique against South Africa and New Zealand and will want to build on the good start.

Middle order – Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Ikram Ali Khil

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

Rahmat Shah’s form is the biggest concern for them, who registered just 8 runs in his previous three knocks. He is their most important batsman in the middle order and he needs to get back to his best if they really wish to compete toe-to-toe with the English side. Ikram Ali Khil is yet to chip in with anything impressive with the bat.

Hashmatullah Shahidi has done a good job in a couple of matches, but he needs to work on his strike rate for his knocks to be more effective. It will be a tough choice to pick among Asghar Afghan and Najibullah Zadran with the former registering a duck in the previous game.

All-rounders – Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib

Arguably the finest cricketer they produced, Mohammad Nabi is nowhere close to his best right now, which is not helping the side. He is not being very effective with the ball as well but he might get the new ball against England, who historically have struggled against quality spinners.

The captain Gulbadin Naib has not been leading from the front, which is one of the biggest disappointments for them. The 28-year-old is struggling to cope with the added responsibility maybe and it is reflecting directly on his batting and bowling. He does have an attacking mentality as a captain and it will be interesting if that works against England.

Bowlers – Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan

Hamid Hassan hits the deck hard and puts in the extra shift, but he hasn’t been very effective. He lacks consistency in sticking to one plan and gets a little predictable on occasions. Aftab Alam is off to an impressive start this season, which should give the skipper some confidence going into the fixture.

Rashid Khan is having a pretty mediocre tournament by his standards. He found some form with the bat against South Africa but is not performing up to mark to impact the result. He is their X-factor player and considering a fact that England batsmen aren’t great against quality leg-spin, he could come in very handy.