It is a dead game as far as the tournament is concerned, but try to tell India and Afghanistan – both are hurt after the horrific loss. Now, before they fly home early, it’s time for them to be proud and some games as they head towards the T20 World Cup.
Surely neither side would have thought that this game will decide who is last in Super 4. So much for the general perception and hype about India vs Pakistan and their “three match series”.
The conflict will be particularly difficult for Afghanistan, for obvious reasons. Physically, the heat and humidity took a toll on the players, as they would have to freshen up less than 18 hours after their potboiler against Pakistan in Sharjah. Not only this. There’s also the matter of trying to lift yourself up mentally and emotionally after Wednesday’s heartbreak.
As such, international cricket may be demanding, but their scheduling in these oppressive conditions is anything but kind. But it is likely that Afghanistan, who have seen the worse in life, will come forward and try to give India a run for their money.
It should not be lost to anyone that victory for India is by no means a formality. He still has to get up and fight for every run, every wicket. It is a reality check for them, even as they grapple with selection challenges and template changes for the World Cup. Against a world-class spin attack that can challenge the best of the world, it will be another big test.
Afghanistan have twice lost games they have been in control of and will have another chance to fight nervously to close out the game. It’s just a question of trying to go one step further. Either way, expect a lucrative competition with no clear favorites for it.
India: LLWWW (Win/Loss in last five matches, first most recent)
in the headlines
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has had two poor performances, especially in the death overs. He has been assigned the task of tough last overs against both Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Their price is 19 and 14 respectively. This meant that young Arshdeep Singh had six to defend in the last over in both the matches. Bhuvneshwar will be hoping that this slight fall is momentary, as India have Jasprit Bumrah, Harshal Patel and possibly Deepak Chahar waiting to crack down on opponents in Australia. Among them, Bhuvneshwar has a clash with Chahar, who is similar, considering that they are both swing bowlers. Bhuvneshwar is backed by Rohit Sharma and the team management but there is nothing like a good performance under your belt to make the world better again.
pitch and conditions
Surfaces are slowly losing their luster, and it is becoming more and more helpful for bowlers, especially if they are willing to dig it out. However, those same surfaces are slightly sharper at night, making it easier for the chasing team. absence of dew. Here the team batting first has won only two out of 19 matches since January 2020. This is a very damaging statistic for the team that loses the toss, as the captain always chooses to bowl first. Weather-wise, it will remain hot and humid, though there is a slight drop in the temperature in the evening hours. From the early 40s, we’re down to the late 30s (Celsius) at night.
Deepak Chahar has not been officially included in the squad but there is a good chance that he could play till the approval from the Asian Cricket Council, if Avesh Khan is dropped from the match. Chahar has been a regular feature in training, and bowled full-tilt before the start of Sri Lanka’s game. They may also bring in Dinesh Karthik and Axar Patel for Rishabh Pant Deepak Hooda.
India (Probable): 1 KL Rahul, 2 Rohit Sharma (c), 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Axar Patel, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 R Ashwin/ Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Arshdeep Singh
It will be a tough call for Afghanistan depending on how the players progress after their game against Pakistan.
Afghanistan (Probable): 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Rehmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Ibrahim Zadran, 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Mohammad Nabi (captain), 6 Karim Janat, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Ajmatullah Omarzai, 9 Naveen-ul-Haq , 10 Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, 11 Fazlah Farooqui.
statistics and general knowledge
Shashank Kishor is Senior Sub-Editor at ESPNcricinfo