After a resounding victory against Australia, India is geared up to face Afghanistan in a high-stakes encounter. The ninth match of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 will take place at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on 11th October, starting at 2 PM.
India’s Strong Start: India commenced their World Cup 2023 campaign on a triumphant note, registering a significant win against the five-time champions, Australia. The Indian spinners played a pivotal role by dismantling the Aussie middle order and restricting them to a modest total of 199. Captain Rohit Sharma’s decision to keep Mohammad Shami on the bench paid off, as Ravindra Jadeja and company claimed six crucial wickets. In response, India faced an early setback, losing their openers without scoring. However, stellar performances from Virat Kohli (85) and KL Rahul (97*) led India to a convincing six-wicket victory.
Afghanistan’s Challenge: Afghanistan, on the other hand, started their World Cup journey with a defeat against Bangladesh, losing by six wickets. Batting first, Afghanistan managed to score 156 runs, largely propelled by opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s 47 runs. However, Afghanistan struggled to counter Bangladeshi spinners in the middle overs, losing eight wickets for just 44 runs. The Afghani bowlers initially made an impact by dismissing both openers within five overs, but they couldn’t replicate the success of their rivals.
Past Encounters: India and Afghanistan last faced each other in an ODI during the ICC World Cup 2019. In that thrilling encounter, Afghanistan came close to ending India’s unbeaten run in the World Cup by restricting them to 224 in 50 overs. With 12 runs needed from the final five balls, Mohammad Shami took a hat-trick to secure an 11-run victory for India. Shami became the 10th bowler to achieve a hat-trick in the ICC World Cup. In three ODIs against Afghanistan, India has secured two victories, with one match ending in a tie, featuring a memorable century by Mohammad Shahzad.
India Preview: India’s decision to keep Shami on the bench showcased their strategy for the tournament, focusing on playing three spinners. Ravindra Jadeja, who claimed three wickets for 28 runs against Australia, will be a bowler to watch. He has an impressive record against Afghanistan, with seven wickets in two games. Jaspreet Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj will continue to lead the pace attack.
The absence of injured Shubman Gill led to the selection of Ishan Kishan in the opening position. Gill’s return, with his remarkable record of five ODI centuries and as many half-centuries this year, will strengthen India’s batting lineup. Virat Kohli’s exceptional form, as evidenced by his brilliant knock of 85 when India faced adversity, makes him a key player to watch. KL Rahul, in splendid form, is averaging 117 in his last four games. Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja will serve as the all-rounders, with Pandya posing a threat to the Afghan bowling unit.
Key Players: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli
India Predicted Playing XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
Afghanistan Preview: Afghanistan’s struggle in the World Cup primarily revolves around their vulnerability against spinners. The team’s lack of bowling depth and Rashid Khan’s inconsistent form pose challenges for coach Jonathan Trott, who is seeking to find a balanced approach.
The opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran showed promise by scoring 47 runs for the first wicket in the opening game. Gurbaz, with 423 runs in 12 games at an average of 35.25, has been consistent. Ibrahim Zadran, the leading run-scorer for Afghanistan this year with 500 runs at an average above 45, is a player to watch.
The batting lineup’s lack of depth has been a long-standing issue. Captain Hasmatullah Shahidi, who promoted himself over Najibullah Zadran, struggled in the first game. His batting average against India is only 10.5 in two games. However, Rahmat Shah has displayed promising performances in recent ODIs and can serve as an anchor against India. Mohammad Nabi is a crucial middle-order batsman and the leading run-scorer against India in previous encounters.
Afghanistan’s key concern is Rashid Khan’s form, with just nine wickets in his last nine ODIs and a higher economy rate this year. Fazalhaq Farooqi, who has 16 wickets in 12 games, is a bowler to watch out for. Afghanistan’s bowlers have consistently troubled Indian batsmen in their last two ODIs, taking 18 wickets, leading to a tie and a narrow 11-run defeat.
Key Players: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Fazalhaq Farooqi
Afghanistan Predicted Playing XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Azmatullah Omarzai, Fazalhaq Farooqi
Weather Conditions: The weather is expected to be sunny, with temperatures ranging from 23 to 35 degrees Celsius. The west wind is forecasted to blow at 9-11 km/h. The pitch at the Arun Jaitley Stadium is typically known for its batsman-friendly nature, offering good bounce and conducive conditions for boundary-hitting. Spinners can also find assistance as the pitch wears and cracks.
Venue Details: The Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi has a capacity of 48,000 spectators and has hosted 37 Tests, 29 ODIs, and 13 T20Is. South Africa recorded both the highest (428) and lowest (99) totals at the venue in the 2014 World Cup.
Toss: To Bat: In 29 ODIs at this venue, both chasing and defending teams have won 14 times each. However, in the last six games, teams defending their total emerged victorious on five occasions. The average first innings score in these six matches was 291. Therefore, winning the toss and batting first could be the preferred choice.
India vs Afghanistan Match Prediction: India enters this World Cup clash as the favorites, especially on home turf. The Arun Jaitley Stadium has been a fortress for the Indian team, where they have won seven of their last ten games. Additionally, India boasts an unbeaten record against Afghanistan. With a formidable batting lineup featuring the likes of Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma, along with exceptional form, India is well-equipped to tackle the Afghan bowling attack.
On the contrary, Afghanistan has faced challenges in ICC ODI World Cup matches, losing 15 of their 16 encounters. While recent statistics indicate that India has lost two of their last three games in Delhi, these numbers are unlikely to deter their confidence. In this high-stakes encounter, India is predicted to emerge victorious.
Today’s Match Prediction: India
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