Afghanistan got off to the worst possible start in the 2019 World Cup. With losses in all three matches, Gulbadin Naib and Co are languishing at the bottom of the points table. Albeit, they gave Sri Lanka a run for their money, the Afghans have been way off their mark. Against New Zealand in the last match in Taunton, they threw away a good start given by the openers and lost the match by seven wickets.
They are next scheduled to play against South Africa in the second of tomorrow’s doubleheader at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. The Proteas have been abysmal as well. The Faf du Plessis-led team is one above the cellar dwellers. The Proteas got their first points after their match versus the Windies at the Rose Bowl in Southampton got washed after only 7.3 overs of play.
The Proteas may not want to change their lineup after the washed-off match. Quinton de Kock has blown a tad hot and cold, having got three low scores and the left-hander will be keen to show a bit more consistency. Concerns remain over Hashim Amla’s form as the veteran has scored only 25 runs thus far at an average of 8.33. Aiden Markram hasn’t looked in full flow either.
Rassie van der Dussen had a groin issue, but he’s fit to play. David Miller has been reasonable. In the bowling department, the pacers- Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, and Chris Morris- have been amongst the wickets, though they haven’t been outstanding. There’s no update on Lungi Ngidi’s return. Veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir has picked up a few crucial wickets as well.
The Afghans made a few changes to their eleven in the previous game, but this time they might not make any alterations. Noor Ali Zadran, who replaced Mohammad Shahzad as the opener, looked in excellent touch while playing the new leather. Hazratullah Zazai has looked threatening and he needs to play a long inning to make a greater impact. Rahmat Shah also had two bad outings after his 43 versus Australia.
Hashmatullah Shahidi would be high on confidence following his 59 in the last encounter. Skipper Gulbadin has been out of form, delivering neither with bat nor ball. Najibullah has been their best bet with the bat in hand. Aftab Ahmed came in place of Dawlat Zadran and he chipped in with three important wickets. Rashid Khan has been economical but needs to get more wickets.
Predicted Playing XI
South Africa – Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Beuran Hendricks
Afghanistan – Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Gulbadin Naib (C), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan
Dream XI Fantasy Tips
Wicket keeper – Quinton de Kock (C)
Batsmen – Najibullah Zadran, David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen
All-Rounders – Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Andile Phelukwayo
Bowlers – Kagiso Rabada (VC), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Imran Tahir