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T20 World Cup | AFG vs SCO: Mohammad Nabi and co. need to yard out Scotland to begin their campaign

It’s yet another World Cup and once again Afghanistan team is in contention, not for making it to the semi-finals but at least upsetting one or two against and making their road difficult for them to reach the final stages. That road would however have to be a long and demanding one with Afghanistan taking on the likes of Pakistan and India. They start their tournament off with a so-called easy challenge, Scotland. But it would be no easy challenge by any means, to say the least. 

Different routes to the Super 12

Leading up to the World Cup, the last few months haven’t been easy for the Afghanistan team. The regime change in their country meant that its coaches Lance Klusener, Shaun Tait and recently inducted Andy Flower were not in contact with the entire team for quite some time. 

Hence the time together that the team has spent with all its staff is even less than a month. But even after that, the kind of form that the Afghan side has shown in the warm-up games has been amazing. They beat defending champions West Indies outrightly and gave a tough time to South Africa too. 

On the other hand, Scotland, which is not a permanent member of the ICC, has done exceedingly well coming into the Super 12. They beat Bangladesh in their first match and then kept their composure to win against Oman and Papua New Guinea to get through to the next round for the first time in their history. 

Even their preparation coming into the World Cup as they won three out of four games before the tournament which included two warm-up games, but all those matches were against Associate nations. Thus taking them lightly would be no good to Afghanistan at all. 

What's at stake?

For Afghanistan, this is a game that could very well shape their campaign. With Pakistan beating India comprehensively in their first match, Afghanistan wouldn’t have it easy in their second game against the neighbours. Hence if they lose even their first game, they would be very low on confidence going into the big game. 

For Scotland, it is an occasion to show their skills and what they are made up of. If they win this one and can get one past Namibia, then not only would they give a better account of themselves, but could also bring in a lot of funding to their game. Now that they already have an ODI status, and with ICC already having 13 teams in the ICC Super League, they might as well make their case for a 14 team Super League and get more chances at the bigger stage. 

Afghanistan vs Scotland: Match Details

Match Number - 17

Date and Time: October 25, 2021, 07:30 pm IST, 06:00 pm Local, 2:00 pm IST

Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah

Broadcast and Livestream: Star Sports and Hotstar

Pitch Report

The wicket at Sharjah in the last game played well as even a total beyond 170 was chased by Sri Lanka against Bangladesh which had a formidable bowling attack. Agreed that the Bangladeshi team made a lot of errors and dropped crucial catches, but still, the wicket was better than before for stroke-making and hence Scottish players, if they can apply themselves a bit better, could pose a decent enough challenge for the Afghans. 

Weather Forecast

The temperatures in the evening are going to remain in between the higher twenties to mid-thirties throughout the game. Humidity will be low, below 45 and hence not much sweating for the players as compared to the recently concluded IPL. This would also mean that there would be dew as the evening approaches night. 

Thus the best bet in such conditions would be to win the toss and bowl first, give your spinners a chance to use the wicket first and try and extract some help. Chasing would be easy as the ball would skid along. 

Team News


The Afghan side would be chummed with its last warm-up game and would like to get a smooth combination going with PSL star Hazratullah Zazai and in form Mohammad Shahzad opening the batting. Rahmatullah Gurbaz and Asghar Afghan in the middle are more than good enough to build the innings and with the finishing abilities of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, the batting lineup looks as good as any. 

The fact that Afghanistan are lacking in fast bowler is a problem that might haunt them a little. 

Probable XI

Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi (c), Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen ul Haq, Hamid Hassan


Scotland on the other hand would look to continue with the winning momentum and anyway tier spinners have done well, so no point in bringing about any change in the Playing XI.  

Probable XI

George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer (c), Matthew Cross (wk), Richie Berrington, Calum MacLeod, Michael Leask, Chris Greaves, Mark Watt, Josh Davey, Safyaan Sharif, Bradley Wheal

CE XI Fantasy team

Wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad 

Batters Hazratullah Zazai, George Munsey, Calum MacLeod

All-rounders Richie Berrington, Chris Greaves, Mohammad Nabi

Bowlers Mark Watt, Josh Davey, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman

Vice-Captain Richie Berrington

Captain Mohammad Nabi 

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T20 World Cup | Babar, Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi embarrass India to correct Pakistan's World Cup history

For all the punditry harping India as the most formidable side of the tournament and all the memes and jokes about Pakistan’s World Cup history against them, there was the trio of Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi to rewrite the history and change the outlook of India. India were rocked early but they showed resilience to be not out of the game completely by posting 151 runs on the board—a par score on Dubai pitch where batting for some unknown reasons has been tricky. Also add to that Pakistan’s characteristics with the bat in their hands, especially while chasing, and India would have believed they had a good chance of winning the game. However, the dynamic duo of Babar and Rizwan, who was more dynamic of the duo to put Indians under enormous pressure from the first over itself with two boundaries. The six that he hit off Bhuvneshwar Kumar was with so much ease, that the Inzamam Ul Haq would have got nostalgic watching it somewhere from Pakistan. India played a pace-heavy five-man bowling attack and backed the duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami to get the best out of the pitch and the new ball. Kohli would have hoped both of them would extract something on the line of what Shaheen Afridi extracted to leave them in disbelief, but it wasn’t to be. It wasn’t to be and India were chasing the leather from the very first over and the assurance of Babar and audacity of Rizwan meant they were never going to get back in the game easily. None of their tricks, such as the “mystery spin” of Varun Chakaravarthy and controlled line and length of Ravindra Jadeja and yorkers of Jasprit Bumrah worked successfully and they could not muster even a single wicket to avoid an embarrassment. Shami was too wayward both in his line and length and never respected the fielding arrangement Kohli had for him and it was only fitting that Ruzwan smashed him in the 18th over to finish off the game. Bhuvneshwar Kumar found the swing on the very first ball of the over but did not help his case by first becoming too ambitious in search of glory ball and then following those full deliveries with short of length stuffs that Rizwan feasted upon. Kohli was quick to bring Bumrah and Varun into the attack in the third and fourth over, but there was no respite from Rizwan and Babar as they waited for their opportunity to pounce on. They never went desperate and banked on India to make mistakes in desperation. Earlier, when Babar won the toss, he sent India in to bat first in what appeared to be a tricky call on the face of it. However, by the end of the powerplay, it looked like a masterstroke that he took having known the strength of his side. Shaheen wiped out the head of the Indian batting order with a booming inswinging yorker that Rohit Sharma had no answer of and then followed with an unplayable inswing length ball that cut KL Rahul into half and sneaked through his bat and pad to disturb the stumps and India’s ambitions of posting a good total. Playing true to his reputation, Suryakumar Yadav arrived at the crease with a lot of swagger and confidence and treated balls on their merits instead of getting bogged down by the quality of bowling and game situations. He was looking ominous at one end and hit some delightful strokes before edging one through to Rizwan, which he took spectacularly to hint that the night was to be Pakistan’s chance of rewriting the history. Virat Kohli found himself in the zone and upped his game once again in the face of severe adversity and hit Shaheen for a majestic six that could well end up as the shot of the tournament. He was watchful and used his tried and tested methods of strike rotation to keep the momentum going for India. Rishabh Pant struggled to get balls of the square but once he got going, he played two signature one-handed shots off Hasan Ali that sailed over square leg and long on to give Indian fans reasons to cheer. However, his ambitions were short-lived and he picked the wrong ball off Shadab Khan to try and deposit over midwicket and a top edge ended his promising innings just the worst time for India. Ravindra Jadeja was promoted ahead of Hardik Pandya to keep the left hand - right-hand combination but the all-rounder struggled to pick the perfect mixture of rapid and slower balls of Hasan Ali and Harris Rauf and ended up choking his skipper who got through to another fifty against Pakistan in a t20 world cup game. It was his sixth score of fifty or more against Pakistan but the fall of the wicket at the other end and lack of big shots meant his half-century could not provide more than stability to the Indian batting unit and they could barely cross the 150-run mark. Pakistan outclassed India from the word go and ended up thumping them by a margin of 10 wickets to rewrite history. India were left with some harsh lessons and they have a week’s time to ponder over what went wrong in the game before an all-important game against the New Zealand side, whom they have never defeated in the history of the T20 World Cup. On the other hand, Pakistan were ecstatic and are up and running the group with the high chance of topping the group alongside one of New Zealand or India.