Pakistan will be taking on Afghanistan in their first-ever meeting in a World Cup on Saturday (today) at Headingley, England.
Never before both the teams have met in any World Cup as it is the first time that war-torn Afghanistan has qualified for the mega event.
Pakistan team is left with no choice but to win this match in order to rekindle their hopes for a semi-final qualification. Afghanistan gave a big scare to Pakistan by beating them in a warm-up match of the World Cup.
Afghan team put up determined fight against India in a World Cup match to prove that it is gradually on the way to blend into a winning combination in years to come.
Afghan team has so far played seven match of the World Cup and lost all. In the given circumstances, Pakistan team has to pull its socks up to display a better brand of quality cricket to outshine their spirited opponents.
Pakistan team enjoys supremacy against Afghanistan by beating them in all the three previous three One Day matches, played between the two side.
Pakistan has met Afghanistan twice in Asia Cup under the captaincy of Misbah ul Haq and won both the encounters. Sarfraz also led Pakistan to success in Asia Cup one match.
Date: Saturday June 30, 2019
Timing: 02:30 PM PKT
Venue: Headingley, Leeds
Weather: It’s expected to be the hottest day of the year, with the temperature exceeding 30 C. The pitch is expected to be slow, but recent games here have had fast bowlers achieve success, which should play into Pakistan’s hands. A ‘scorcher of a day’ has been forecast by the met department.
Conditions / Pitch Report: The pitch, despite some grass cover, looked dry on the eve of the game.
Head to Head:
Matches: 3 | Pakistan: 3 | Afghanistan: 0 | NR: 0
Pakistan: W W L L W (completed matches, most recent first)
Afghanistan: L L L L L
Realising the fact that they cannot be complacent against minnows Afghanistan in their World Cup match at Headingley, the Pakistan team did all their fine-tuning ahead of the game in a practice session on Saturday.
Pakistan wouldn’t want to break up their winning combination, so an unchanged team is expected.
Pakistan’s practice session started with head coach Mickey Arthur giving a pep talk to the players in the middle of the ground. The pep talk is a common practice usually done indoors before each training session, but on Friday the players opted to do it outside, in the pleasant weather of Leeds.
Pakistan’s Probable XI:
1. Imam-ul-Haq, 2. Fakhar Zaman, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Haris Sohail 5. Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt, wk), 6. Mohammad Hafeez 7. Imad Wasim, 8. Shadab Khan, 9. Mohammad Amir, 10. Shaheen Afridi 11. Wahab Riaz
On the other hand, Afghanistan, like Pakistan, do not possess an esteemed record in the past few years, but their side looks balanced and of high quality.
Seven matches into the tournament and Afghanistan still don’t know their best XI. Afghanistan have tried almost every possible combination, with 16 players used.
Afghanistan could go back to explosive opener Hazratullah Zazai at the top at the cost of one of their experienced grafters in the middle.
Afghanistan’s Probable XI:
1. Gulbadin Naib (capt), 2. Rahmat Shah, 3. Hashmatullah Shahidi, 4. Asghar Afghan, 5. Samiullah Shinwari, 6. Mohammad Nabi, 7. Najibullah Zadran, 8. Ikram Alikhil (wk), 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Dawlat Zadran, 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Players to watch:
1. Babar Azam – Batsman, Pakistan
Pakistan will consider themselves extremely lucky with the form that their batsman Babar Azam has been enjoying. Babar Azam is definitely one of the batsmen to watch out. Azam has had a really good tournament so fan and is one of the key players for Pakistan.
2. Mohammad Amir – Bowler, Pakistan
The paceman has been brought with a purpose, and that is to add value with his experience. Amir brings past success in England and has all the skill-sets to succeed in these conditions, especially if swing is on offer, he is at his most devastating.
3. Rashid Khan – All-Rounder, West Indies
The off-spinner has kind of become an obvious choice every time Afghanistan plays, purely because of how good he is. The leading wicket-taker in the world since the 2015 World Cup, Rashid Khan will be determined to make an impact.
Stats and Travia:
- Pakistan and Afghanistan have played each other three times, with Afghanistan yet to win
- Pakistan’s win percentage at Leeds is 44.4%, having won four and lost five matches
“Look we are not thinking about the different scenarios of the other results. We just want to focus on our games and we are looking ahead only on a match-by-match basis. Tomorrow we have to play Afghanistan and win and after that we will begin preparations for Bangladesh,” – Haris Sohail said his team wasn’t paying close attention to the qualification permutations.
“In this World Cup, I don’t think he’s been at his best but he’s given everything in terms of effort. If tomorrow is a Rashid day, it’ll be very difficult for anyone.”
– Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib is hopeful his lead spinner can give him a match to remember.