Date: November 3, 2021
Time: 7:30 PM IST
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
The wicket at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi has proven to be difficult for batsmen early in the innings. However, Pakistan's opening duo of Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam proved yesterday that once you settle in, batting becomes much more easier. This is why keeping wickets in hand is going to be crucial for both the sides which makes it an intriguing setting for the match on Wednesday. There is lot of assistance for pacers early in the innings, which is certainly going to make Jasprit Bumrah a force to reckon with.
India: It has been a shocking campaign for India in UAE so far after being literally outplayed by both Pakistan and New Zealand in their first two matches. The star-studded Indian batting has failed to live up to the expectations as they have failed to recover from early fall of wickets. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul look set to unite at the top in this match and the fans would indeed be hoping for a better start this time around.
On the other hand, the bowling has looked absolutely ineffective as they have managed to take only 2 wickets in first 2 matches. But this Indian side has developed a habit of coming back when they have had their back against the wall in recent times and they would certainly be raring to produce a similar turnaround in UAE.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi's side were deemed to be one of the dark horses of the tournament and they are actually proving to be one. After registering a huge win over Scotland, Afghanistan came agonizingly close to beating Pakistan few days back. However, they did thrash Namibia in the next contest to give themselves a big opportunity of securing a semi-final berth.
They now face a big test in form of a hungry Indian side who are themselves desperate for a win. In order to script a memorable win, the responsibility will lie on the shoulders of star-spinner Rashid Khan who has a terrific record against most of the Indian batsmen in IPL.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (c), Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Sharafudin Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hamid Hassan, Fareed Ahmad
Conclusion: Although India have lost both the matches so far, Virat Kohli and Co. will start as favourites going into this interesting match. They will have a point to prove on Wednesday and with a glimmer of securing a semi-finals berth still there, it might just act as motivation for all the players to produce a determined display. On the other hand, Afghanistan have played some brilliant cricket in the tournament so far and will be quite confident to pull off an upset on Wednesday.
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