ODI World Cup 2023: Pakistan desperate to get two points, Afghanistan's spin wizards threat looms high
Pakistan cricket team is desperate to get off the losing run in the ODI World Cup 2023. They cannot afford another loss on Monday which would otherwise deeply hinder their chances for the semi-final berth.
The men in green have not been at their absolute best in the ODI World Cup 2023 so far. They are coming into the Afghanistan game after losing two consecutive matches against India and Australia. While Afghanistan has just one win in 4 matches.
Pakistan's concerns aren't getting any lesser as their batting performance has persistently let them down in the four matches. Their last match in Bengaluru against Australia saw them getting bundled out for 305 runs. They lost that match by 62 runs.
The platform was set for Pakistan to mark the chase with a winnable target. However, on a flat deck with short boundaries, the Babar Azam-led team wouldn't have had a more brighter chance. Despite a good start, their middle order fell apart.
Shaheen Shah Afridi's five-wicket haul on the flat deck was the only positive that Pakistan could take with them. Their record against spin has been one of the worst in this tournament and the next opponent and venue couldn't come at them at a worse time.
Cheapauk has been traditionally a spin paradise which was also seen at the India vs Australia match. Spinners got a lot of help from the dry surface and with Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, and Mohammed Nabi in the team, Afghanistan can instill rampage on Pakistan's batting lineup.
Shaheen Shah Afridi could come good against Afghanistan as he regained his form a little after picking five wickets against Australia. He bowled at the right areas due to which he was also economical. Pakistan and Afghanistan's batting is off form and the determinant factor will be who plays the spin well on Monday.
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (C), Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq.
Pakistan: Imam ul Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Usama Mir, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf.