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Pakistan fans will be asking themselves whether they are dreaming of their near-perfect tournament. But Afghanistan has already given threats with their spin-bowling. With new challenges ahead, can they overcome them? Here’s the Match Preview of PAK vs AFG.
If there was anything missing from that India match, it was PAK’s mini-collapse in their batting before finding their way out. That’s exactly what happened against New Zealand. The bowlers were ruthless with Haris Rauf quieting his doubters and the fielding was fine. Their middle-order was tested and that they will be happy about.
Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik were two players fans criticised for their selection in the World Cup. But these two men pulled PAK out of trouble. Malik’s experience and Asif’s clean sixes gave them much needed five wickets victory. In other words, completing their revenge against the Kiwis.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, is enjoying their biggest win in terms of runs over poor Scotland. It was no challenge at all. The batters just exploded as they usually do and the bowlers, spinners to be precise, took them out with sweat. The fielding is slightly a concern, which was their biggest highlight in the 2019 World Cup and they are probably aware of it.
Meeting for the first time since that crazy game in Leeds, Pakistan and Afghanistan is a new rivalry that one cannot miss.
PAK vs AFG: What are we expecting?
We are expecting a heavy spin challenge from both sides. AFG, in particular, will give quite tough moments for PAK. The UAE has been Afghanistan’s home for a while and they have come out strongly in such conditions. UAE was also a home once to Pakistan so both teams will know the conditions very well.
Their spin duo of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rehman will be going to give PAK batters a very tough time. These two bowlers combined took 9 wickets for 29 runs in 6.2 overs. Let’s not forget their skipper, Mohammad Nabi, to come in the mix. Their batters are equally great as well. It is going to be an interesting battle.
PAK will be happy that their middle-order has been tested and the pair of Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali showed what they can do. Mohammad Hafeez was also looking in fine touch, only his innings to be cut short by Devon Conway’s magnificent catch. The bowlers were once again bowled brilliantly. Hasan Ali is still a little concerned, conceded 70 runs in 7 overs he has bowled up to now.
Both sides have met only once, back in 2013. This will be their second encounter and looks to be a great one. A win here for Babar’s men will further push their spot in the Semi-Finals. A win for Nabi’s men will make this group very interesting.
PAK vs AFG: Match Details
- Date: Oct 29, 2021
- Timing: 7:00 PM PKT
- Venue: Dubai
- Weather: As always, there’s no chance of interruption and it’s going to be hot and dry.
Conditions / Pitch Report:
The conditions will be the same as it has been for the first three games in Dubai. The dew in the second innings has made the captains to chose to field first after winning the toss.
Head to Head:
Matches: 01 | Pakistan: 01 | Afghanistan: 00 | Tied: 00 | No-Result: 00
Pakistan: W W W L L (Completed matches, most recent first)
Afghanistan: W W W W T(L)
PAK vs AFG: Team News
The Green Team had a bit of a wobble in their batting against New Zealand on Tuesday. But they will be happy that their middle-order was tested. Imad Wasim is a bit concerned with his knee. If he is unfit, Mohammad Nawaz will likely slot in.
1. Babar Azam (C), 2. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 3. Fakhar Zaman, 4. Mohammad Hafeez, 5. Shoaib Malik, 6. Asif Ali, 7. Shadab Khan, 8. Imad Wasim/ Mohammad Nawaz, 9. Hassan Ali, 10. Haris Rauf, 11. Shaheen Afridi
This will be their second group match. It won’t be likely that they will change their combination.
1. Hazratullah Zazai, 2. Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 3. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 4. Najibullah Zadran, 5. Asghar Afghan, 6. Mohammad Nabi (C), 7. Gulbadin Naib, 8. Rashid Khan, 9. Karim Janat, 10. Naveen ul-Haq, 11. Mujeeb ur Rahman
PAK vs AFG: Players to watch
1. Shoaib Malik, Batting All-Rounder (PAK)
What do Shoaib Malik and Afghanistan remind you all together? Yes, that match in Abu Dhabi in the Asia Cup 2018. He enjoys taking the game deep and making use of the bad balls to keep things under control. Such as he has shown on Tuesday night. He was met with mixed criticism when he was announced to join the squad.
2. Najibullah Zadran, Batter (AFG)
He is an underrated batter who most of the time gets overshadowed by his teammates. Najibullah has mostly batted in the middle to lower order, presumably at no. 6 and 7. He was given a promotion at no.4 against Scotland and scored 59 from 34 balls. The southpaw has 31 international T20I fifties and a big one over Shaheens will make it sweeter for him.
3. Hasan Ali, Bowler (PAK)
Hasan has been struggling lately. In two matches so far this World Cup, he has an economy exactly at 10 and averages 35. It is concerning for the fast bowler. But that doesn’t mean we can rule him out. Prior to the tournament, Hasan has done well in the UAE conditions. AFG batters like pace on the ball and Hasan is more of a bowler who bowls variations in T20Is. Hasan could well be the key bowler on Friday night, Pak vs Afg.
4. Mujeeb ur Rahman, Bowler (AFG)
The canny off-spinner, in his short career, has an average of 15 and an economy of just 6. Scotland could not just read his tricks. An off-spinner who bowls different kinds of variations such as carrom ball, as well as googly, will make the Shaheen batters guess. And of course, his pair with Rashid Khan will be deadly.
Stats and Trivia:
- This will be the first time Pakistan and Afghanistan will be playing each other in a T20 World Cup
- Rashid Khan is one wicket away from becoming the first Afghan bowler, and fourth overall, to take 100 T20I wickets.
- Mohammad Rizwan is only 136 runs away to become the first-ever batsman to score 1000 runs in T20Is in a calendar year.
“Every game is crucial. We want to take it game by game and do well in all departments of the game.”
“This is a request to all the fans… I hope they remain cool and calm and just focus on enjoying the game. This game is all about enjoyment and bringing nations together and people together.”