Afghanistan will take on South Africa in their final ICC World Cup 2023 league stage match on Friday, November 10. The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host this clash, scheduled to start at 2:00 PM IST. The Asian side has done remarkably well in the ongoing competition, winning and losing four matches apiece. Their four victories came against defending champions England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Netherlands. In their previous match, Afghanistan came agonisingly close to pulling off an upset against Australia before going down by three wickets.
Batting first, Afghanistan rode on opener Ibrahim Zadran’s unbeaten 129 off 143 balls to register 291/5 at the end of 50 overs. Thereafter, a terrific bowling show, led by Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai, restricted Australia to 91/7.
The Hashmatullah Shahidi-led side looked set for a stunning win, only to be undone by a breathtaking knock by Glenn Maxwell. The Aussie all-rounder smashed a scintillating 201* to help his side seal a semi-final spot.
Given their current Net Run Rate of -0.338, the Afghans will need to win their upcoming match against already-qualified South Africa by a big margin to stand any chance of qualifying for the semis and for the same, they are set to trust the following XI to get the job done.
Openers: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran
Even though Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s form has dipped towards the business end of the competition, his knack for providing aggressive starts has remained constant and is set to open the innings against the Proteas. In eight matches, Gurbaz has scored 255 runs at an average of 31.87.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Zadran became the first Afghanistan batter to score a century in ICC World Cup history last time out. Unfortunately, it didn’t prove enough to steer his team to victory. Zadran will look to extend his fine run of form against South Africa, having scored 361 runs in eight matches.
Middle order: Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ikram Alikhil
Rahmat Shah is one of the consistent batters for his side, scoring 30+ runs in each of his last five outings in the ongoing tournament. Overall, he has accumulated 294 runs in eight innings, including three half-centuries.
Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi has stood like a wall in Afghanistan’s batting lineup, playing crucial knocks in the past few matches. His last four scores read 48*, 58*, 56* and 26, indicating his ability to play as a stabiliser in the middle order.
Even though Ikram Alikhil hasn’t got enough opportunities with the bat, his presence behind the stumps has been pivotal. In six matches, Alikhil has accounted for six catches and a stumping. With the willow, he has recorded one half-century in the two innings he has batted in.
All-rounders: Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan
Mohammad Nabi, the experienced all-rounder, has been instrumental for Afghanistan in the ICC World Cup 2023. Scoring 53 runs and taking six wickets, his valuable contributions with both bat and ball have played a key role in his team’s success.
Azmatullah Omarzai, Afghanistan’s promising all-rounder, has been the find of the tournament. While amassing 256 runs and taking seven wickets, his versatility has been evident, especially while bowling during the middle overs.
The star all-rounder Rashid Khan has been exceptional in the ICC World Cup 2023. With 10 wickets in seven matches at an economy of 4.92, he has been successful in curbing the scoring rate. As far as batting credentials are concerned, he has fared decently with 91 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 112.34.
Bowlers: Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq
The spin duo of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad are at the forefront of Afghanistan’s success. While Mujeeb has bowled in the powerplay phase, claiming seven wickets; Noor Ahmad has taken five wickets in three matches at an economy of 4.58. Ahmad’s best performance came in the victory over Pakistan, where he finished with 3/49.
On the other hand, Naveen-ul-Haq’s ability to make the most of the conditions on offer and strike in the powerplay was on display versus Australia last time out. In all, the 24-year-old has taken eight wickets at an economy of 6.36.
Afghanistan Predicted Playing XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq
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