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Match Preview – Afghanistan vs India, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 33rd Match, Group 2




They need to ace the Afghanistan spin test if they are to keep themselves alive in the tournament

Big picture

India are teetering on the brink of this T20 World Cup, depending on other teams to hand them a lifeline, and as dire as that may be, they’ll need to keep telling themselves that it is not over.

A couple of bad tosses resulted in them getting the worst of the conditions. Their batters panicked because they knew they needed an extra 20-30 runs to even make a match of it, and their bowlers were handicapped by the dew that always comes in during the evenings in the UAE and flips the script. It wouldn’t have been fun watching Pakistan and New Zealand score their runs so easily when they kept struggling so badly.
Still there is hope. India must beat Afghanistan – preferably by a big margin – and then hope Afghanistan can in turn beat New Zealand, which is very much possible given the way their bowlers have performed at this World Cup. Rashid Khan continues to dominate this format and Mujeeb Ur Rahman – assuming he’s recovered from injury – functions at almost the same level. So it is game on.

Form guide

Last five matches, most recent first
India: LLLLW
Afghanistan: WLWWW

In the spotlight

Virat Kohli has already announced that he will relinquish the India captaincy in the shortest format. He will not go quietly into the night though. He set in motion India’s last loss, going for a big hit when he probably should have tried to bat out the 20 overs. It’s unlikely that a batter of his quality, and more so his hunger, will make a mistake like that again.

Hamid Hassan ended a five-year hiatus from international cricket when he took the field in Afghanistan’s last match. In that time he’s dabbled in coaching and in commentary but somehow nothing suits him quite as much as being out there in the thick of all the action. He’s still got the headband. He’s still got the yorkers. He’s still a threat.

Team news

India’s experiment with Rohit Sharma down the order may come to an end, which may mean that KL Rahul slips down to No. 4. Suryakumar Yadav missed the last game with back issues and it is unclear if he has recovered from them.

India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Ishan Kishan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 KL Rahul, 5 Rishabh Pant, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Varun Chakravarthy, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

With Asghar Afghan’s retirement, Afghanistan will be looking to either Hashmatullah Shahidi or Usman Ghani to step up and fill the hole he’s left behind.

Afghanistan: 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 3 Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi/Usman Ghani, 5 Mohammad Nabi, 6 Najibullah Zadran, 7 Gulbadin Naib, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Karim Janat/Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 10 Naveen-ul-Haq, 11 Hamid Hassan

Pitch and conditions

Teams chasing have won six of the eight matches played in Abu Dhabi at this T20 World Cup. The forecast is for clear skies on Wednesday with a temperature in the low 30s degree celsius.

Stats and trivia

  • In 2021, fast bowlers (76 matches, 308 wickets, 8 economy rate) have performed better than spinners (76 matches, 128 wickets, 7.6 economy rate) at this venue.
  • Rashid Khan dominates KL Rahul in T20 cricket: 18 runs, 30 balls, three dismissals
  • Ishan Kishan, on the other hand, has a much better record against the Afghanistan legspinner: 64 runs, 51 balls, no dismissals

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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WI in Pak – West Indies rest Jason Holder, Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmyer among others, name new-look white-ball squads




Greaves, Brooks, Motie, Smith and Drakes earn maiden call-ups as West Indies rest several senior players

A CWI statement confirmed that while Holder missed out because of “workload management”, Fabian Allen and Obed McCoy are out because of injuries, and Lewis, Hetmyer, Russell and Lendl Simmons were unavailable because of personal reasons.

Left-arm spinner Motie was a travelling reserve for the recent T20 World Cup in the UAE, while quick bowlers Drakes and Smith, who played two T20Is for West Indies in 2018, were net bowlers on that tour.

Lead selector Roger Harper said in the statement that the new players had been selected on the back of their performances in the Super50 Cup and the CPL T20 tournament.

“There are a number of talented newcomers in each format that will have the opportunity to show what they are capable of at the international level,” Harper said. “Justin Greaves is a very talented player, had a good CG Insurance Super50 tournament and performed well in the President’s XI match against Ireland in 2020.

“Odean Smith really grabbed our attention in the last CPL. His pace was never in question, however, he has added greater control and has displayed the ability to be a wicket-taker.

“Shamarh Brooks batted well in the CG Insurance Super50 Cup and followed that up with good performances in the CPL. He will lend greater depth to the batting line-up.

“Gudakesh Motie has been rewarded for his outstanding performance in the CG Insurance Super50, followed up by his showing in the CPL.

“Dominic Drakes has the potential to be an outstanding all-rounder as he displayed during the last CPL.”

The three ODIs are a part of the World Cup Super League. For the 2023 men’s ODI World Cup, nine qualifiers, excluding hosts India, would be determined by the rankings based on the 13-team league, featuring 12 Full Members and Netherlands, with each team playing eight ODI series – four home and four away. West Indies currently lie in the eighth position and have the opportunity to overtake Pakistan and get to No. 7. Harper said “these ODIs are very important to us and are being treated as such”.

ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (capt), Shai Hope (vice-capt), Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Justin Greaves, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Anderson Phillip, Nicholas Pooran, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr
T20I squad: Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran (vice-capt), Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr

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Recent Match Report – Bangladesh vs Pakistan 1st Test 2021/22




Mehidy Hasan Miraz the only Bangladesh batter to make a mark on the second morning, with a 68-ball 38

Lunch Bangladesh 330 (Liton 114, Mushfiqur 91, Hasan 5-51) v Pakistan

Hasan Ali completed his sixth five-wicket haul in Test cricket as Bangladesh were bowled out for 330 at lunch on the second day of the Chattogram Test. Hasan knocked over the overnight centurion Liton Das and debutant Yasir Ali in an impressive first spell, before cleaning up the tail with two wickets off consecutive deliveries, those of Abu Jayed and Ebadot Hossain.
Hasan finished with figures of 5 for 51, while Faheem Ashraf and Shaheen Shah Afridi also took one wicket each as Bangladesh couldn’t replicate the sheen of their batting performance on the first day. Only Mehidy Hasan Miraz offered a bit of entertainment with his unbeaten 38, which included six fours. But the rest simply couldn’t take advantage of the strong overnight position.

Liton was the first to go – after a wasted review – in the second over of the day, when Hasan beat his forward prod with a delivery that slanted into his pads. It was Liton’s maiden Test hundred, which included 11 fours and a six in in 233 balls.

Yasir, the debutant, showed good judgment for 18 balls before Hasan blew away his off stump with a fine delivery that cut between his bat and pad. Perhaps Yasir was a touch too late bringing down his bat but the movement probably didn’t allow him that time.

Mushfiqur Rahim, who was unbeaten overnight on 82, was the next to go when Ashraf had him caught behind for 91. His 225-ball innings included 11 fours.

Brought back for a second spell, Hasan then removed Jayed and Ebadot in consecutive deliveries. He will be on a hat-trick when Bangladesh resume their second innings.

The first day belonged to the home side after they turned things around from a precarious 49 for 4 in the first session. Pakistan blew away the top four, starting with Afridi getting one to rear into Saif Hassan, who could only fend it to short-leg. Shadman Islam survived two clear-cut chances before being lbw to Hasan. Captain Mominul Haque and Najmul Hossain Shanto fell in the space of two overs, leaving Bangladesh with the possibility of an embarrassing collapse.

But Mushfiqur and Liton battled a tough 40 minutes in the first session, before thriving in the second. They consolidated in the final couple of hours, when Liton battled cramps to reach his Test century. Mushfiqur, however, led the partnership, particularly after tea when he kept the scoreboard ticking despite being on the cautious side.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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Recent Match Report – India vs New Zealand 1st Test 2021/22




The wicket of Kane Williamson at the stroke of lunch left the match beautifully balanced

Lunch New Zealand 197 for 2 (Latham 82*, Young 89, Umesh 1-30, Ashwin 1-57) trail India 345 (Iyer 105, Gill 52, Jadeja 50, Southee 5-69, Jamieson 3-91) by 148 runs

Kane Williamson’s wicket in the last over before lunch on the third morning ensured India shared the session with New Zealand despite the visiting batters looking solid for most part. Bowling with the second new ball, Umesh Yadav got one to nip back to ping Williamson on the back leg. The New Zealand captain decided to review the lbw decision but replays showed the ball would have hit the top of middle stump.

That meant New Zealand went into the break at 197 for 2, still 148 runs in arrears, with Tom Latham batting on 82.

India started the day with their two most experienced bowlers, Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin, while KS Bharat substituted behind the stumps for Wriddhiman Saha, who had a stiff neck. Will Young and Latham didn’t find it easy to score on a slow and low pitch though Young skipped down the track against Ashwin a couple of times, hitting him over mid-on for four on one occasion. But otherwise both batters were forced to wait for the rare loose delivery.

Luck too seemed to be on New Zealand’s side. Ishant and Ashwin drew the outside edges of Young and Latham respectively, and while Young’s went for four through the gap between wide slip and gully, Latham’s fell short of Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.

With the breakthrough still elusive, Ashwin, who had started the day bowling around the wicket to both openers, switched to over the wicket. He broke the 151-run opening stand when Young edged a fuller-length delivery behind the stumps, with Bharat taking an excellent catch staying low. Young fell 11 short of what would have been his maiden Test hundred.

Williamson walked in with three men around the bat, and after a few watchful moments, struck two fours in one Ravindra Jadeja over. In the very next over, Ashwin could have had Latham too. He did everything right, tossed the ball up, got it to spin past the outside edge and hit the batter on the back leg. Umpire Nitin Menon though denied the vociferous appeal for lbw and India chose not to review. Replays showed Latham would have been on his way back had they done so.

A little later, Menon and Ashwin were involved in what seemed like a chat about Ashwin’s follow-through. When bowling from around the wicket, the offspinner was delivering from closer to the stumps and then moving across towards the left-hander’s leg side to avoid stepping onto the danger area. In the process, he seemed to be obstructing the umpire’s view and the non-striker. India’s coach Rahul Dravid too was seen making a visit to match referee Javagal Srinath’s room.

India took the new ball after 84 overs with five minutes to go for lunch. That proved to be just enough time to pick up the big wicket of Williamson.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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