Asia Cup 2022: Buoyed Pakistan to face tough Afghanistan today 

A win will take Pakistan closer to the final while Afghanistan will be keen to open their account in the Super 4s

By: News Desk
Published: 10:33 AM, 7 Sep, 2022
Asia Cup 2022: Buoyed Pakistan to face tough Afghanistan today 
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The fourth game of the Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 stage is a clash between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In their opening Super 4 match, Pakistan thrashed India while Afghanistan lost to Sri Lanka. One more defeat for Afghanistan will effectively conclude their Asia Cup campaign, while a victory for Pakistan would book the final spot of the Asia Cup 2022.

On Sunday, Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz led Pakistan to a five-wicket victory over India. India's defeat against Sri Lanka has cleared the equation for Pakistan and Sri Lanka. If Pakistan beats Afghanistan on Wednesday (Today), Sri Lanka and Pakistan will play the final on Sunday. 

Pakistan and Afghanistan are both are much familiarized with the UAE conditions. However, the match will be tense and nerve-racking.  Even though Pakistan has a flawless track against Afghanistan, having won both of their encounters in 2013 and 2019, the contest in Sharjah will be open to anybody.

Najibullah Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and Ibrahim Zadran are in-form Afghan batters. Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Nabi are yet to perform well for the side.

Meanwhile, despite missing their skipper and having important players injured, Pakistan has been able to produce a stunning victory. In filling in for Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan has performed admirably, scoring 192 runs in three innings. Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah have also contributed, and leftarm all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz scored 42 runs off 20 balls in the last game against India after moving up to the No. 4 position.

Pitch and conditions

The team batting first will be looking to score big, as has been the case in two out of three matches played in Sharjah. Pakistan posted 193 against Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka chased down Afghanistan's 175.

Team news

Rizwan, who injured his knee on Sunday, has been cleared to play by the Pakistan medical team and will keep his place both at the top of the order, and behind the wicket.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 3 Fakhar Zaman, 4 Iftikhar Ahmed, 5 Khushdil Shah, 6 Shadab Khan, 7 Asif Ali, 8 Mohammad Nawaz, 9 Naseem Shah, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Mohammad Hasnain Afghanistan are unlikely to make changes.

Afghanistan: 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Ibrahim Zadran, 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Mohammad Nabi (capt), 6 Karim Janat, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Azmatullah Omarzai, 9 Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi.

Stats and trivia: Pakistan have won both their T20Is against Afghanistan in the past. Shadab Khan's economy rate of 5.43 is the best among Pakistan players (with a minimum of five overs) at this Asia Cup. Rashid Khan has dismissed Babar five times in T20s, conceding 58 runs off 48 balls

BIg Picture

Pakistan and Afghanistan, two teams who are very familiar with the conditions in UAE, will be up against each other for the first time in the Asia Cup, on Wednesday, and only the third time in T20Is. Though Pakistan have a perfect record against Afghanistan - having won both the matches in 2013 and 2019 - it's going to be anybody's game in Sharjah.

In the spotlight

Filling in a Shaheen Shah Afridi-sized hole in Pakistan's bowling line-up isn't easy, but Naseem Shah, just three T20Is old, has proved he can come close. He burst on the scene in red-ball cricket with his searing pace and swing, and turns out, that combination works in the shorter formats too. The 19-year-old has picked up five wickets in three matches so far in the competition and will have a big role to play in restricting Afghanistan's improved batting. Especially with the experienced Haris Rauf struggling a little bit.

Categories : Sports