T20 World Cup, India vs Afghanistan: Preview, stats, and more
India and Afghanistan will square off in the Super 12 match of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup. The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi will host the evening encounter. India need to beat Afghanistan by a huge margin in order to be alive in the tournament. The Indians were handed crushing defeats by Pakistan and New Zealand respectively. Here is the match preview.
India have a win-loss record of 2-0 against Afghanistan in the head-to-head meetings. The two sides have only met in the T20 World Cup. India won by seven wickets in the 2009 edition. The second match (2012) was close, with India claiming a 23-run win.
The match is set to take place at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. It will begin at 7:30 PM IST. Six of the eight games on this venue have been won by the teams batting second (T20 WC). The surface here has produced low-scoring matches so far. One can watch the match live on the Star Sports Network and stream the same on Disney+ Hotstar.
India shuffled the batting order against NZ. Ishan Kishan, who replaced the injured Suryakumar Yadav, opened the batting alongside KL Rahul. Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar made way for Shardul Thakur. It remains to be seen if India stick with this combination. Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Rahul, Virat Kohli (captain), Suryakumar, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah.
Young spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman missed the last encounter against Namibia, as was unfit. Hamid Hassan, who replaced him, picked up three wickets for just nine runs in four overs. Mujeeb's availability is yet to be ascertained. Probable XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (wicket-keeper), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi (captain), Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Karim Janat, Hamid Hassan, Naveen-ul-Haq.
Kohli is the only Indian batter with a T20I half-century against Afghanistan. His 50-run knock laid the foundation of India's victory against Afghanistan in the 2012 T20 World Cup. It is interesting to note that no team has successfully chased down 160+ against Afghanistan in T20Is since the start of 2016. Afghanistan have batted first in all three games in the ongoing tournament.
After losing two consecutive games, India's fate is not in their own hands. Another defeat will confirm their early exit from the tournament. India will have to claim a huge victory against Afghanistan to bring down Afghanistan's Net Run Rate (+3.097). Team India will then hope that Afghanistan beat New Zealand. If all three teams accumulate six points, the qualification will depend upon NRR.