Australia will face off against Afghanistan in a game that will be crucial to their chances for qualification into the semifinals of the ongoing ICC Men’s ODI Cricket World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The Afghans can be tricky opponents, and Australia will not want to take them lightly. Australia have had to deal with the flying back of Mitchell Marsh, and he is unlikely to be available for the rest of the tournament. Without Marsh, Australia will have to look for a new opener, and it helps that Travis Head is already sitting and waiting in the squad. However, the problem is that both Head and fellow opener David Warner are southpaws. With Marsh at the top of the order, Australia were able to challenge the opposition bowling attacks owing to the variety that it provided to them. This time, they will have to be content with two left-handers at the top of the order. Marsh’s absence will also allow them to bring Cameron Green back into the side, which they did against England. Afghanistan will rely heavily upon their spinners to make a difference. They are renowned for using the turning surfaces in India to their favour and changing results emphatically.
Probable Playing XIs
Afghanistan: Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alakhil (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Noor Ahmad.
Australia: David Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis (wk), Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood.
Rashid Khan: Rashid Khan, who has not quite set the World Cup on fire just yet, will be preserving his best performance for the Aussies. He is known to be quite experienced when it comes to using the surfaces in the subcontinent to his favour.
David Warner: The diminutive southpaw is renowned for his aggressive batting at the top of the order. If he gets going, he will be responsible for most of the runs that Australia score. Afghanistan have to get his wicket as soon as he walks out to the crease.
Australia are the overwhelming favourites to win this game comfortably. Although Afghanistan have surprised quite a few teams in the World Cup this year, they might not be able to get past the Aussies. The latter will be trying to book a semifinal berth with a win here.