The stage is set for a thrilling encounter as Pakistan and Afghanistan clash in the 22nd match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. This high-stakes showdown is scheduled to take place at the iconic MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Monday.
Pakistan finds themselves in a precarious position in the tournament, having suffered defeats at the hands of cricketing giants India and Australia.
As they prepare to face Afghanistan, they sit in the fifth position on the league table. They know that a win in this match is crucial to keep their World Cup dreams alive. The pressure is on, and Pakistan will need to bring their A-game to secure victory.
On the flip side, Afghanistan’s journey in this World Cup hasn’t been smooth either, particularly their recent clash with New Zealand.
They were comprehensively outplayed in all facets of the game. Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi will be eager to rally his troops, urging them to improve their performance with the bat and ball against Pakistan.
In anticipation of this crucial encounter, Pakistan is making two strategic changes to their playing XI. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Wasim are set to replace Usama Mir and Mohammad Nawaz. These alterations aim to bolster their overall performance.
In the batting department, Pakistan’s hopes for a commanding total will rest on the shoulders of Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, skipper Babar Azam, rookie Saud Shakeel, and power-hitter Iftikhar Ahmed.
In their previous match, Imam-Ul-Haq showcased commendable form, scoring a remarkable 70 runs from 71 balls. His partner at the top, Abdullah Shafique, also played a significant role with 64 runs off 61 balls, while Mohammad Rizwan contributed with a valuable 46 runs.
When it comes to defending their total, Pakistan will rely on their formidable bowling unit. In their last match, Shaheen Afridi was the standout performer, claiming five crucial wickets. Haris Rauf also chipped in with three wickets.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, has their own set of key players. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi are expected to lead the charge in the batting department.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, with 159 runs at an average of 39.75, has been the standout performer with the bat for Afghanistan in this World Cup.
In the bowling department, Afghanistan will bank on Naveen-Ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, and Fazalhaq Farooqi to deliver timely breakthroughs.
As the anticipation builds for this pivotal clash between Pakistan and Afghanistan, cricket enthusiasts can expect a fiercely contested match with both sides giving it their all to secure a vital victory on the World Cup stage.
PAK vs AFG Predicted Playing XI
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz/Mohammad Wasim Jnr., Usama Mir/Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi