Australia gears up to take on an in-form Afghanistan in their pursuit to secure a coveted spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
The competition for the remaining two semi-final berths remains intense, with Bangladesh and England having been ruled out, setting the stage for a fiercely contested battle between the two sides.
The encounter is pivotal for Afghanistan as a victory would not only keep their semi-final aspirations alive but also bolster their position in the race for the top four.
Hashmatullah Shahidi, their confident skipper, holds high expectations from his team, looking to deliver their best performance on the batting-friendly ground of Wankhede.
Afghanistan has showcased commendable form, evident in Rahmatullah Shah’s string of three consecutive fifties, accompanied by the skipper Hashmat’s unbeaten streak in the last three wins, boasting two half-centuries to his name.
On the other side, Australia, the five-time world champions, have demonstrated a remarkable resurgence after a sluggish start in the tournament, clinching victory in five consecutive matches.
A potential win in this game would secure their spot in the semi-finals. The return of Glenn Maxwell further fortifies their line-up, enhancing the team’s already formidable stature.
Australia’s prowess lies not only in their solid batting line-up, with Warner in exceptional touch at the top but also in the middle-order contributions from Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, instilling a well-rounded balance in their roster.
The team is propelled by the leadership of Pat Cummins, exhibiting outstanding bowling performances, and guiding the team to victories.
His strategic bowling approach has proven instrumental in guiding Australia’s path in the tournament. While the batting unit might have displayed some inconsistency in recent games, the team remains formidable, boasting match-winners at every position in the order.
Afghanistan, with a commendable World Cup campaign so far, notably defeating cricketing powerhouses like England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, is prepared to take on the challenge posed by Australia.
Their journey to face former champions is underpinned by a resilient middle-order and promising openers, but they face a stern test against Australia’s pace attack, spearheaded by Warner’s dominance against spin bowling.
The batting strength of Afghanistan, evident in their performance against strong bowling units, indicates a potential to build a competitive total.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s role at the top order becomes pivotal, aiming to set a solid foundation for the middle-order to capitalize on in the middle overs.
The Wankhede pitch, known for its batting-friendly nature, poses a formidable challenge for Afghanistan against Australia’s seasoned bowling attack. Overcoming this challenge will require grit and skill, highlighting the compelling battle that awaits in this crucial encounter.
AUS vs AFG Probable XI
Australia: David Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Noor Ahmad