Afghanistan's predicted XI for the game against South Africa

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ICC World Cup 2019 | Afghanistan's predicted XI for the encounter against South Africa

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SportsCafe Desk

06/15/2019

In what appears to be the match that could very well decide who ends up at the bottom of the pile, Afghanistan take on South Africa for bragging rights. In a tournament where the weather has played a huge role, the Afghans will be disappointed that they don’t have a single point so far.

Openers

Hazratullah Zazai: The youngster’s power-hitting ability is not in question but one can certainly raise some questions about his temperament. For a guy who has scored a 162 in T20I cricket, a high score of 67 in ODIs is just terrible. For Afghanistan’s sake, he needs to be a little more patient in his approach.

Noor Ali Zadran: After the entire Mohammad Shahzad fiasco, the Afghans decided to hand the opening slot to Noor Ali Zardan. The 30-year-old was able to score more than four times the number of runs as his predecessor in just one game. While his 31 looked very steady, he needs to understand situations better and not allow the opposition to build up steam with back to back wickets.

Middle order

Rahmat Shah: Rahmat Shah might just be the most talented batsman in the Afghanistan side with an average of 35.28 and four centuries to his name. However, in the World Cup, the best he could muster was a 43 against Australia. He needs to be patient and ensure that the Asians play out their entire quota of overs for the first time in this tournament.

Hashmatullah Shahidi : The 24-year-old has looked like their best batsman so far in the competition and is only one of two players to score a half century. His innings have been extremely slow but that just what the Afghans might need when you have Rashid and Nabi to trouble the opposition in the other innings.

Gulbadin Naib: Like most batsman in the side, Naib has not been at the top of his game in the World Cup. The frustrating part with him, though, is the fact that he has gotten off to good starts twice in three games but has not been able to cross the 50-run mark. A little patience can go a long way in helping out his side.

Mohammed Nabi: On the bowling front he has done exceptionally well considering the class of the opposition on the biggest stage the game has to offer. But the lack of runs from the batsman, where has to take some blame as well, has meant that teams can play out his overs and not risk too much. The only game where Afghanistan batted second, he was able to scalp four wickets at the cost of just 30 runs.

Najibullah Zadran: Batting at No. 7, he has been the top scorer in the side so far. More often than not, he has just been running out of partners at the other end and with panic creeping in, he is drawn into false shots.

Ikram Ailkhil: Afghanistan decided to replace veteran Shahzad, behind the stumps, with an 18-year old by the name of Ali khil - a man who had only played a couple of ODIs before the Cup. Its difficult to be too harsh on a youngster, who has been thrown into the deep end, particularly when he is the only option they are left with.

Spinner

Rashid Khan: Easily the most disappointing player in the lot. With all the experience he has acquired over the last few years, he has looked ordinary. But after having to quit the New Zealand game after one innings with a concussion, he will be raring to go against the Proteas - a team that has struggled against wrist spinners recently.

Pacers

Hamid Hassan: I really don’t know what to make of Hamid Hassan. He looks incredible in one game and in the very next one looks out of his depth. A little consistency with the new ball will allow Rashid and Nabi to exploit the middle overs and give Afghanistan a fighting chance.

Dawlat Zardan: With Aftab Alam picking up a knock in the last game, Zardan might just get the call for this game. However, it could very easily be Mujeeb as well due to South Africa’s wrist spinner issues. However, the Afghans might just decide to go ahead with a little more pace to afford them so variety.

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