GameDay Squad Cricket Match Preview: Afghanistan come up against Pakistan in the 22nd match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in Chennai on the 23rd of October.
Afghanistan played New Zealand in their fourth match of the CWC, and New Zealand won by 149 runs. Afghanistan won the toss and elected to field first. Mujeeb took the wicket of Conway in the 7th over for 20 before Young and Ravindra put on 79 for the second wicket. Afghanistan had a great period with the ball and picked up three wickets in eight balls to have New Zealand 110/4 in the 22nd over. Afghanistan were unable to keep on taking wickets as Phillips and Latham fought back and put on 144 for the fifth wicket. New Zealand ended up making a respectable 288 off their 50 overs. Afghanistan was off to a steady start before losing both openers while the score was at 27. Afghanistan couldn’t get going in their run chase and we saw a steady stream of batsmen heading back to the pavilion. Afghanistan ended up being all out in the 35th over for 139 runs.
The top performers in GDS for Afghanistan were.
Azmatullah Omarzai – 85 points
Rashid Khan – 71 points
Mujeeb Ur Rahman – 56 points
Naveen-ul-Haq – 55 points
Mohammad Nabi – 53 points
Pakistan played Australia in their fourth match of the CWC, and Australia won by 62 runs. Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first and it may have been the incorrect decision. The Pakistan bowlers missed their line and length early and Australia made them pay. Warner and Marsh were superb and took the score through to 259 before Marsh was dismissed in the 34th over. Pakistan did really well in the remaining overs and restricted Australia to 367/9 at the end of 50 overs when it looked like they might be chasing 400+. The Pakistan openers were off to a good start and made it through to 134 in the 22nd over before Shafique was dismissed. Pakistan were still in the hunt before Shakeel was the fourth batsmen dismissed in the 35th over with the score at 232. Australia then took control of the match and Pakistan lost their last six wickets for 36 runs, being bowled out for 305 in the 46th over.
The top performers in GDS for Pakistan were.
Shaheen Afridi – 179 points
Imam ul-Haq – 88 points
Abdullah Shafique – 83 points
Haris Rauf – 79 points
Mohammad Rizwan – 71 points
MA Chidambaram Stadium and Pitch Information
A lot of reports indicate that the pitch at MA Chidabaram Stadium is very supportive to spinners. It may support spin compared to many other grounds but when I looked into spin vs seam at this venue, I found out that this might not always be the case. Over the previous 26 ODIs played here, seam bowlers have taken 223 wickets and spin bowlers have taken 138 wickets. We did see India and Australia play here in the 5th match of the CWC and Australia did struggle against the Indian spin attack. The Indian top order found it very challenging against the Australian quicks. Bangladesh and New Zealand played here in the 11th match of the CWC and the surface didn’t seem to aid the spinners as much on this occasion. New Zealand and Afghanistan played here in the 16th match of the CWC and we saw both seam and spin bowlers have success on this surface. Two of the three matches here this CWC have been won by the team batting second. It’s been reported that the same pitch that was used in the India vs Australia game will be used today, and this was the best deck for spinners. I think both seam and spin bowlers will be able to produce decent fantasy output on this pitch.
Afghanistan vs Pakistan predicted XIs
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Nawaz/Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Usama Mir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf
Who to play in your GDS starting XI
The three batters that I am likely going to start will be Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. Over the CWC these batters average the following points in GDS.
Abdullah Shafique – 89 points
Imam-ul-Haq – 43 points
Babar Azam – 33 points
In GDS there are eight players combined from Afghanistan and Pakistan that have the batter position designation. Six of these eight players are predicted to play, four from Pakistan and two from Afghanistan. I’m staying away from the Afghanistan batters as there has only been one 50+ score between them this CWC. The Pakistan top order are starting to bat themselves into some form and Shafique is the pick of them for me. Azam has looked out of touch so far this tournament but if Pakistan bat first, we might see 30 overs of spin from Afghanistan. All the Afghanistan spinners are right-armers and Azam averages 58 runs vs right arm spin. The final batter position goes to ul-Haq above Shakeel. ul-Haq scored 36 vs India and 70 vs Australia in his last two innings and is coming into this match in better form than Shakeel.
If you don’t have the suggested three players in your squad, I have ranked the remaining batters for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the following order. Saud Shakeel, Hashmatullah Shahidi and Ibrahim Zadran.
The four all-rounders that I am likely going to start will be Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Nawaz/Shadab Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai and Iftikhar Ahmed. Over the CWC these all-rounders average the following points in GDS.
Mohammad Nabi – 51 points
Mohammad Nawaz – 51 points
Shadab Khan – 47 points
Azmatullah Omarzai – 64 points
Iftikhar Ahmed – 37 points
In GDS there are seven players combined from Afghanistan and Pakistan that have the all-rounder position designation. Five of these seven players are predicted to play, two from Pakistan and three from Afghanistan. Rahmat Shah is the odd one out for me as he only bats and is averaging 24 points in GDS for the CWC. That leaves only Nabi, Omarzai, Ahmed and Khan/Nawaz as the all-rounders that can be selected for this match. It looks like Pakistan will either play Nawaz or Khan, ideally in fantasy it would be great if they both played. If they both play, Ahmed will be the all-rounder dropped from my starting XI.
If you don’t have the suggested four players in your squad, I have ranked the remaining all-rounders for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the following order. Rahmat Shah.
The three bowlers that I am likely going to start will be Shaheen Shah Afridi, Rashid Khan and Haris Rauf. Over the CWC these bowlers average the following points in GDS.
Shaheen Shah Afridi – 90 points
Rashid Khan – 78 points
Haris Rauf – 70 points
In GDS there are eleven players combined from Afghanistan and Pakistan that have the bowler position designation. Eight of these eleven players are predicted to play, four from both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Afridi was excellent against Australia and picked up five wickets, he is my number one bowler for this match. Khan is the next picked as he is top spinner from Afghanistan and I think the pitch conditions are going to suit him. I have Rauf just edging out Mujeeb as my third starter. For me Rauf is the sort of bowler I love to watch, he brings a lot of passion to the game and every delivery can be entertaining. Even with the pitch likely to favour spin bowlers, I think the Pakistan batters should be able to contain Mujeeb more than the Afghanistan batters can contain Rauf. In saying all this, it all depends on who bowls first. If last minute information comes out regarding the pitch, I might pivot away from Rauf and select Mujeeb or Mir, it will depend on who bowls first.
If you don’t have the suggested three players in your squad, I have ranked the remaining bowlers for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the following order. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hasan Ali, Usama Mir, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq.
The wicket keeper that I am likely going to start will be Mohammad Rizwan. Over the CWC these wicket keepers average the following points in GDS.
Mohammad Rizwan – 101 points
Ikram Alikhil – 56 points
Rahmanullah Gurbaz – 50 points
Rizwan has been the best keeper in GDS this CWC. He was the first picked for my starting XI today and I won’t be playing either Alikhil or Gurbaz as a POD. Rizwan’s lowest GDS score has been 60 points, Alikhil and Gurbaz only have one score each higher than this.