ICC World Cup 2019: Warm-up Match 1, Afghanistan vs Pakistan – Optimistic Afghans and underperforming Pakistanis go head to head
Pakistan have been in England for over a couple of weeks now and should not find it very difficult to get going.
Updated - May 23, 2019 8:37 pm
The World Cup will be following its 1992 format this time around, with 10 teams participating in a round-robin league before the top four contest for the semifinals. Before the main tournament kick-starts, the traditional warm-up games will be played in various venues across England to get themselves acclimatized to the conditions.
Not many expected Afghanistan to make it to the World Cup after their disastrous start to the qualifiers tournament last year, but as it turns out, they literally pulled off a miracle to reach this stage for the second time. They have a well-balanced squad with a couple of world-class talents, which should make them a side to worry about.
Pakistan have been in England for over a couple of weeks now and should not find it very difficult to get going. This is the kind of a game they’re expected to win easily, but to take the opposition for granted will not help them.
There is no restriction in warm-up games as to who should feature in the XI, any eleven players from the squad can come out to bat. Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed has nothing to experiment with his batting lineup, apart from the positions of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez. Asif Ali will be back with the team soon and the other two late additions Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir will have to show their worth. Their batting department got some good practice and they will be keen to continue the momentum.
Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt, wk), Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali
Who will win the match? – ICC World Cup 2019: Warm-up Match 1, Pakistan vs Afghanistan, Match Prediction – Weather Report, Pitch Conditions, Playing XIs and Live Streaming Details
Afghanistan have two possible opening partners for Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran and Hazratullah Zazai. Rahmat Shah will be a key in the middle order alongside Asghar Afghan and Hashmatullah Shahidi. They will also want to try Samiullah Shinwari considering the experience he brings. Hamid Hassan and Dawlat Zadran will be doing the bulk of bowling alongside Aftab Alam, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Squad: Gulbadin Naib (C), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Focus will be on
Shadab Khan (Pakistan)
One of Pakistan’s X-Factor bowlers, Shadab Khan will be a huge threat if the pitches turn out to be a little slow and dry. The young leg-spinner will try his best to not get carried away or buckle under the pressure considering this is his first World Cup. He also is just back from an injury and Safaraz would want to see how he’s faring on these tracks.
Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan)
Skipper Gulbadin Naib was Afghanistan’s opener in the previous World Cup and since then, a lot has changed. He has groomed himself into a world-class all-rounder at this level and will be aspiring to make a difference for his side. Afghanistan have never defeated Pakistan in any competition previously, but this could be a huge opportunity considering this is the best side they ever produced.
Head to head
Matches Played – 3 | Pakistan won – 3 | Afghanistan won – 0
342 – Babar Azam has 342 runs in his last five ODI matches
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