Saturday, January 25, 2020 | ePaper

Afghanistan face uphill challenge against unstoppable England

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The 24th match of the ICC World Cup 2019 will see hosts England face off against Afghanistan at the Old Trafford ground in Manchester. England has been very good in the tournament so far with only one loss in four matches, while Afghanistan is yet to win any matches and have looked competitive in just one match against Sri Lanka.
England has been hit with injuries in their last game against the West Indies as Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy, as both of them had to leave the field in between the innings. Jason Roy pulled up with a hamstring concern and didn't come out to open the innings, while Morgan suffered some back issues. Therefore, in a game against Afghanistan, the England team management might want to keep both their important players at bay and give them a chance to recover. This means James Vince might come into open and Liam Plunkett may be brought in to strengthen the bowling.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, is looking desolate with big losses to almost every team they have played so far. They managed to bowl Sri Lanka out for 201 runs, but their batting failed to capitalize on it. They might want to bat first after winning the toss, or there is a chance of England coming good on their chances of making 500 in an ODI inning. Najibullah Zadran might be brought into the team to strengthen the middle order, in place of Asghar Afghan, how has not been firing with the bat at all.
Key Players
Jonny Bairstow (England): Bairstow has got starts in each of the last three games but has failed to convert them into a big one. With Jason Roy almost certain to miss Tuesday's clash, the right-hander will look to take extra responsibility and score big against Afghanistan.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan): The star spinner, who could't bowl against New Zealand after being hit by a Lockie Ferguson bouncer earlier in the day, went wicket-less in seven overs against South Africa. Rashid will eye a much-improved performance on Tuesday, as he holds the key to Afghanistan stopping the power-packed England batting line-up.
Conditions
The day will have a cloudy start, with some sunny periods thereafter and minimal chances of rain. While breezy conditions will assist new-ball bowlers early on, the large boundaries at Old Trafford will keep spinners from either side interested.
Squads:
England: Jos Buttler (c&wk), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah (wk), Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ikram Ali Khil.

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