Afghanistan made an exceptional start to the T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, thumping Scotland by a mammoth margin of 130 runs. Najibullah Zadran (59), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46) and Hazratullah Zazai (44) all shone for the team as they put up an impressive 190 for 4 batting first. In their defence, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan completely bamboozled Scotland’s bowling, picking up a total of nine wickets between themselves.
Despite their stellar start, Afghanistan face a Herculean task as Pakistan have marked themselves as one of the favourites to win the T20 World Cup 2021 with two outstanding performances. Shaheen Shah Afridi was too good for India as he dismissed the opposition’s three big guns - Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam then stunned India with an unbeaten 152-run stand as Pakistan claimed victory by 10 wickets.
Against New Zealand, it was Haris Rauf’s turn to shine with the ball. He bowled with amazing pace to dismiss four Kiwi batters and end with brilliant figures of 4 for 22. Pakistan restricted the Kiwis to 134 for 8. They found themselves in a spot of bother at 87 for 5. However, Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik guided the team home by five wickets with contrasting 20s. Pakistan will go in with the upper hand against Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Predicted XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi (c), Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Karim Janat, Naveen ul Haq, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Pakistan’s Predicted XI: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Top fantasy picks for Afghanistan vs Pakistan clash: Hazratullah Zazai, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
--Renin Wilben Albert