World Cup: Afghanistan are dark horses this term

Sports

08 May 2019

World Cup 2019: Can Afghanistan qualify for semi-finals? We decode

The ICC World Cup 2019 is less than a month away and teams have started intense preparations for the mega event.

While there are a couple of favorites, including India, to win the title, Afghanistan enter the tournament with the tag of the underdogs, but they possess the potential to reach the semis.

Here we analyze as to why they are the dark horses.

Qualification

Afghanistan's steady route to World Cup qualification makes them dangerous

Afghanistan's steady route to World Cup qualification makes them dangerous

Analyzing Afghanistan's performance, they displayed glimpses of their magic in the qualifiers.

Although they were shaky in the league stage of the tournament, winning just one tie, they still managed to make it to the super-six, where they won three of their five matches.

They went on to beat Windies in the final to seal their spot.

Although ranked tenth, they are unpredictable.

Spin Twin

Addition of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman key factor

It should be noted when Afghanistan had played the 2015 World Cup, they did not have the services of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Both of them made their debut later.

They had a poor campaign, winning just one of their six matches.

However, things could be well different this time, and Rashid could be their most lethal weapon.

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Pacers

Hamid Hassan and Dawlat Zadran have matured as pacers

Hamid Hassan and Dawlat Zadran have matured as pacers

Pacers in the form of Dawlat Zadran and Hamid Hassan had played the 2015 edition, where they delivered an average performance.

However, in these four years, they have matured to soak in the pressure. They played a pivotal role in helping Afghanistan qualify for this edition.

Among the top wicket-takers for the side, there is no doubt that they would terrorize batsmen in England.

Exposure

International exposure have made them even stronger

This term, the Afghan players come into the World Cup after playing enough cricket at the international level.

As a result, they have played against some of the top international teams, and this has certainly made them stronger.

Having won eight of their 14 ODI series since the 2015 World Cup, Afghanistan play an aggressive brand of cricket.

Batsmen

Big names dominate the batting line-up

Big names dominate the batting line-up

The side is stacked with big batsmen like Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, while all-rounders like Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shinwari too can decimate any bowling attack.

Asghar Afghan, being relieved of his duty as captain, will allow him to play freely and display fearless batting.

Further, not to forget wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad, who is their second-highest run-scorer.

Chief selector does not fear hiring new captain

"The team members, including Rashid and Nabi, are now happy for Gulbadin. He is not a new man. He has been playing for 17 years, and has captaincy experience at the First-Class and under-19 level," chief selector Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai assured.

Author's take

Afghanistan are strong but the format will work against them

While many believe that Afghanistan, being minnows, have an outside chance of making it to the semis, they have the firepower to surprise everyone.

However, this edition is being played in a round-robin format where they would have to play each team once.

This can work against them as they will have to deliver several consistent shows to make it to the next stage.

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Afghanistan

Afghanistan Cricket Players

Afghanistan Cricket Team

Cricket World Cup

Cricket World Cup 2019

ICC World Cup

ICC World Cup 2019

Mohammad Nabi

Nabi

ODI World Cup

Odi World Cup 2019

Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan Bowling

World Cup

World Cup 2019

Analyzing Afghanistan

Asghar Afghan

Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai

Dawlat Zadran

Hamid Hassan

India

Mohammad Shahzad

Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Najibullah Zadran

Noor Ali Zadran

Rahmat Shah

Samiullah Shinwari

Windies

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Most asked questions

When did Afghanistan made their ODI debut?

Did Afghanistan qualify for 2011 World Cup?

Who is Afghanistan's highest ODI run-scorer?

Who is Afghanistan's highest ODI wicket-taker?

More questions

When did Afghanistan made their ODI debut?

Asked 2019-05-08 19:57:18 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

Afghanistan made their ODI debut in 2009 against Scotland?

Did Afghanistan qualify for 2011 World Cup?

Asked 2019-05-08 19:57:18 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

No, 2015 World Cup was Afghanistan's maiden World Cup appearance.

Who is Afghanistan's highest ODI run-scorer?

Asked 2019-05-08 19:57:18 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

Mohammad Nabi is Afghanistan's highest ODI run-scorer.

Who is Afghanistan's highest ODI wicket-taker?

Asked 2019-05-08 19:57:18 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

Rashid Khan is Afghanistan's highest ODI wicket-taker.

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