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ICC World Cup 2019 – Match 21: SA vs AFG – Afghanistan Predicted Playing XI

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Afghanistan players. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Afghanistan losing three out of their first three games is something that was already expected. Playing only in their second World Cup, it was anticipated that the teams will look to dominate them. But the way they lost these three matches was disappointing. In none of these encounters, Afghanistan put up a fight and let things drift away rather easily.

The game against Sri Lanka was their best chance to get a victory under their belt. But they have themselves to blame for losing this match. In their next game, Afghanistan will be facing South Africa who are extremely hungry for their first win in the tournament. While a win will, by no means, be easy for the Afghans, they are at least expected to give the opposition a tough fight in this game.

Here is the Predicted Playing XI for Afghanistan:

Openers (Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran)

Hazratullah Zazai. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Hazratullah Zazai has been slightly inconsistent in the tournament thus far. Except in the first game against Australia, he got off to good starts in the remaining two encounters. But on both the instances, he threw his wicket away after getting into the thirties. He must look to bat for a longer period of time and get the team off to a good start.

Noor Ali Zadran, who replaced Mohammad Shahzad in the eleven, did a fair job in the last match. He looked crisp and hit five boundaries in the match against New Zealand. However, even he failed to capitalise on the start and threw his wicket away after getting 31 runs. Being one of the most experienced players in the team, Noor should look to anchor the innings and bat in a majority of the 50 overs.

Middle Order (Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ikram Ali Khil (wk))

Ikram Ali Khil. (Photo by Hannah Peters-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

After the 43 against Australia, Rahmat Shah had two poor outings in the last two games. While he scored 2 against Sri Lanka, he was dismissed for a duck against New Zealand. The Afghanistan Test skipper must do a better job and score some important runs in the middle order. The 59 that he scored against all the odds in the last game would’ve given Hashmatullah Shahidi a lot of confidence.

The left-hander should build upon it and bring out a better performance. Afghanistan wouldn’t have too many hopes on their wicket-keeper batsman Ikram Ali Khil. While he does a decent job behind the stumps, Khil is not one of those highly rated batsmen. He bats way too low down the order and scored just 2 runs in his first encounter of World Cup 2019.

All Rounders (Gulbadin Naib (c), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan)

Mohammad Nabi. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

The form of skipper Gulbadin Naib has been highly concerning for Afghanistan. While Naib has made a few handy contributions with the bat, he has been a massive disappointment with the ball. He only picked up one wicket thus far and has also been quite expensive. Mohammad Nabi, on the other hand, is yet to unleash his full potential with the bat.

The veteran cricketer has left his team high and dry when they needed him the most with the bat. With the ball though, he has been doing a decent job. Najibullah Zadran has performed better than many other batsmen in the Afghanistan team. His contributions with the bat will be critical for his team in the upcoming encounter. Rashid Khan, meanwhile, is delivering economical spells but hasn’t been able to pick up regular wickets. He should look to improve on that aspect of his game.

Bowlers (Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan)

Afghanistan players. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Aftab Alam, who replaced Dawlat Zadran in the team, chipped in with three wickets in the low-scoring match against New Zealand. He is likely to be rewarded for this impressive performance and the management is likely to continue with him in the playing eleven. Alam will open the bowling and should look to pick some early wickets with the new ball.

Hamid Hassan has also bowled quick and troubled the batsmen. He hit good areas and kept things tight with economical spells. Hamid has even picked up important wickets whenever his team needed a breakthrough.

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