Having not yet sealed a win in the ongoing T20 World Cup, India face Afghanistan in their upcoming Super 12 match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Virat Kohli’s outfit began their campaign with a 10-wicket loss against Pakistan and then followed it up with an eight-wicket defeat against New Zealand. Meanwhile, Afghanistan have been in good form in the ongoing tournament and have won two of their last three fixtures. The Mohammad Nabi-led side began their campaign with a win against Scotland and then lost to Pakistan. They won their last fixture against Namibia, sealing a victory by 62 runs.
Against Afghanistan, India will be hoping to fix their batting issues and also their bowling problems. Kohli’s side haven’t been able to score runs and have also failed to take wickets, just like against Pakistan when they failed to register a single dismissal. On the other hand, Afghanistan will be relying a lot on their spinners and will be hoping to register a shocking win against India.
Here are five key player battles that might decide the outcome of the game:
1. Rohit Sharma (IND) vs Mujeeb Ur Rahman (AFG)
The India opener has been in poor form in the tournament and has failed to get India going in the powerplay overs. Against Pakistan, he was dismissed by Shaheen Afridi in the first over itself for a golden duck. During the defeat to New Zealand, he could only register 14 off 14 balls from the No. 3 position before losing his wicket to Ish Sodhi. Against Mujeeb, he will be up against a tricky bowler who will be aiming to dismiss the swashbuckling batsman. Rohit can fall prey to spin early and the Afghans will try every trick in the book to do that.
2. Virat Kohli (IND) vs Rashid Khan (AFG)
Just like his teammates, the Indian captain also hasn’t found much luck in the tournament. He registered a half-century against Pakistan, but India failed to win. During the defeat to New Zealand, he could only play a knock of nine runs off 17 balls and was dismissed by Ish Sodhi. Against Rashid Khan, Kohli will be up against one of the best T20I bowlers in the world. The Afghan spinner has bagged seven wickets in three games for his side.
3. Rishabh Pant (IND) vs Mohammed Nabi (AFG)
Pant found the going tough against New Zealand as he could only muster 12 off 19 balls. He though showed good hitting form against Pakistan. This could be the big battle in the middle overs and whoever comes out on top might give their respective side the edge.
4. Mohammad Shahzad/Hazratullah Zazai (AFG) vs Jasprit Bumrah (IND)
Afghan openers Shahzad and Zazai will be given the task to give their team a strong start. The duo will be up against Jasprit Bumrah, who has been one of the positives for India in this dreadful World Cup campaign. Despite his team’s loss against New Zealand, the pacer took two wickets and will be hoping to do his job against Afghanistan.
5. Najibullah Zadran (AFG) vs Ravichandran Ashwin (IND)
Zadran is currently his side’s highest scorer with 88 runs from three games. Usually batting at No. 6, he could be up against Ashwin, who hasn’t yet got a chance in the tournament. The spinner is expected to be selected for India’s playing XI instead of Varun Chakaravarthy, who has failed to take a single wicket.
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