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World Cup 2019: India look to continue undefeated run against struggling Afghanistan

India are currently in fourth place on the points table, with 7 points and two matches in hand over Australia and England, while Afghanistan find themselves at the bottom of the pack with 0 points so far.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: June 22, 2019 12:52:05 pm
Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma at an India training session in Southampton on eve of the match against Afghanistan (AP Photo)

India will aim to continue their undefeated run in the World Cup when they take on Afghanistan at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Saturday. India are currently in fourth place on the points table, with 7 points and two matches in hand over Australia and England, while Afghanistan find themselves at the bottom of the pack with 0 points so far.

Team News: Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Vijay Shankar have fitness concerns ahead of the Southampton clash. With Bhuvneshwar expected to miss the match, Mohammed Shami is expected to finally be included in the playing XI. Vijay Shankar, who was hit by a Jasprit Bumrah in a training session earlier this week, has to pass a fitness test before the match. Rishabh Pant, who has officially been called up to the India squad in place of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, is waiting in the wings to replace Shankar in case he is unavailable.

Afghanistan’s campaign is in tatters at the midway stage of the World Cup’s league stage. Not only are they the only team who are yet to register any points, but their dressing room also does not look like the happiest place in England right now.

Weather and Playing Conditions: Clouds, which have been at the focal point of the ongoing World Cup, were swirling above The Rose Bowl on Friday afternoon, but they looked less ominous than some clouds we have seen over the past fortnight. Rain is expected to stay away for the clash on Friday. The clouds, however, are expected to remain, which could provide some assistance to bowlers.

The Rose Bowl pitch has not seen high scores been posted at this World Cup. Also, teams batting first have not won here at this World Cup. With clouds expected to play a part in the first innings, the obvious decision for the captain who wins the toss could be to field first.

Key Players: Yuzvendra Chahal (4/51) and Rohit Sharma (122) were the stars for India when they beat South Africa at this venue earlier at the World Cup.

Rashid Khan, who conceded 110 runs in 9 overs in Afghanistan’s last match, will be looking to bounce back against India. For them to push India, their batting order needs to step up. Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi have been their two mainstays, while Gulbadin Naib – who has been their jack-of-all-trades captain in the World Cup – and Mohammed Nabi – who can win matches single-handedly – will also need to turn up at their best.

Squads:

India: Lokesh Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(c), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni(w), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja

Afghanistan: Noor Ali Zadran, Gulbadin Naib(c), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Ikram Ali Khil(w), Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hazratullah Zazai, Samiullah Shinwari, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan

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