Australia have peaked at the right time and are looking worthy of the tag of defending champions. Afghanistan, on the other hand, are the lowest ranked teams in this competition.
Australia and Afghanistan will face off in the second World Cup 2019 match on Saturday at the County Ground in Bristol. This will be the first day/night match of this edition of the World Cup. Australia have peaked at the right time and are looking worthy of the tag of defending champions. Afghanistan, on the other hand, are the lowest ranked teams in this competition and will have to be up for a stern test in their opener.
Key Players: Steve Smith and David Warner will be the two batsmen with the most focus on them, not only because of their much-chronicled returns from ball-tampering bans, but also because of how they have hit the ground running on their returns. While Warner set the recently concluded IPL season alight, Smith’s scores in the five innings he has played in the Australian jersey this year are 116, 76, 91*, 89* and 22.
Rashid Khan, who is currently ranked third among ODI bowlers, holds the key for Afghanistan. If the pitch offers assistance to spin bowling, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeebur Rehman could also get early wickets and tie down batters desperate to get quick runs on the small grounds in England.
Head to head:
Injury News: Captain Aaron Finch has confirmed Warner is fit for Saturday’s game in Bristol, and that means the opening combination that helped carry Australia to victory in the 2015 World Cup will reunite to kick off the title defense.
“David is fine,” Finch told a news conference on Friday, dispelling any concern about Warner’s leg strain. “He will play tomorrow, no doubt about that.”
Pitch and conditions: A 70 per cent cloud cover has been forecast for the day, but it is not expected to convert into rain. The temperature will be around 19 degrees Celsius. The last ODI here produced almost 720 runs, with England chasing down a colossal 359 with 31 deliveries to spare.
Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (capt), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon
(With AP inputs)
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