ICC World Cup 2019, India vs Afghanistan: Top five player battles – Spinners pose big threat for Kohli & Co
Team India will look to continue their good form and strengthen their position at the top half of the table when they take on struggling Afghanistan in a crunch ICC World Cup 2019 encounter at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Saturday. ((ICC World Cup 2019: Full Coverage))
India have won three matches so far with their clash against New Zealand abandoned due to rain. As for Afghanistan, they have lost all five matches so far and are placed at the bottom of the table.
Let’s now take a look at some important player battles that could decide the course of the match at this iconic venue.
Rohit Sharma vs Mujeeb ur Rahman
Vice-captain Rohit Sharma has been in sensational form with the blade and he will once again be eying a big score against the minnows. He could come up against Mujeeb ur Rahman early on in the innings as Afghanistan skipper Gulabadin Naib likes to open the bowling with a spinner. The two have faced each other in IPL with Rohit hitting him for couple of sixes off the eight deliveries that he has faced. In total, Rohit has scored 14 runs off Mujeeb in domestic T20 cricket and will look to take the attack to him when they come face-to-face for the first time in ODIs.
KL Rahul vs Gulbadin Naib
Opener KL Rahul gave a good account of himself against arch-rivals Pakistan and he will once again partner Rohit Sharma up front for Team India. He will have to contend with the pace of Gulbadin Naib, who picked three wickets in his last match and seems to be in good rhythm. Gulabadin has bowled 13 deliveries to Rahul in ODIs and the right hander has scored 19 runs off it, without getting dismissed even once.
Virat Kohli vs Rashid Khan
Captain Virat Kohli too has been in good form for the ‘Men in Blue’ and has struck couple of important fifties. He is likely to come up against Rashid Khan, who usually operates in the middle order. The leg-spinner was smashed for more than 100 runs in his last outing and will look to make amends against the star-studded Indian line-up. While the two have never faced each other in ODIs, Kohli has scored 12 runs off 14 Rashid deliveries in the IPL. Rashid has also dismissed Kohli once in the Indian domestic T20 league.
Noor Ali Zadran vs Jasprit Bumrah
World number 1 ODI bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been in good form with the new ball and he will test the Afghanistan batsmen early on in the innings. Noor Ali Zadran is likely to open the innings and he will have to face the pace and guile of India’s premier pacer. The two have never faced each other in ODIs and expect sparks to fly when they do cross paths.
Hashmatullah Shahidi vs Kuldeep Yadav
Middle-order batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi has been in good form for Afghanistan and he slammed a fighting 76 in his last outing against England. Against India, he will come up against Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who has been in good wicket-taking form for India. Kuldeep has bowled just one delivery to Shahidi in ODIs and he managed to scalp his wicket during last year’s Asia Cup.