England – Afghanistan face off might be one of the least interesting match of the tournament. Compared to the inventor of the game, Afghanistan is a minnow team who has only just received full member status. England currently stands at the No. 1 spot on ICC ODI ranking whereas Afghanistan is at the bottom of the table. For England, this match is tantamount to 2 easy points. It’s unwise to underestimate any team in the WC but England won’t have any problem as long as they play sensibly. Can Afghanistan pull off a miracle against England? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Afghanistan haven’t played much cricket against the top ranking teams. Most of their matches were against associate nations. England and Afghanistan have only met once in ODI cricket and that too in the previous WC. England defeated them quite comfortably. Afghanistan is still new to this. They don’t have the quality and experience that the English side possess. For Afghanistan, the ideal situation would be to take early wickets which might make the English side panic. Afghanistan have a world class spinner in the form of Rashid Khan. He has that capability of getting any batsman out. Afghanistan will have to employ him very carefully.
On the other hand, England only need to follow simple tactics and not deviate much from their set strategies. England will be looking to defeat Afghanistan by as big margin as possible to boost their net run rate. Net run rate will play a major role at the end of the matches. If certain teams have the same points, then the team with the higher run rate will advance to the semi-finals. So defeating Afghanistan with a huge margin is paramount for England.
Contest in WC:
England and Afghanistan will battle it out 18th June 2019 at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester. The ground is most famous for hosting the match in which Shane Warne delivered the “ball of the century” to Mike Gatting. It has been the host to 47 ODI matches and consists of a batting friendly pitch. The pitch also helps seam bowling which is an ideal situation for England. England will be eyeing a 300+ score on this wicket and if they achieve that goal, Afghanistan can kiss their WC dreams goodbye. English bowlers have always bowled marvelously on this ground. They would be hoping to bowl out Afghanistan at the lowest score possible.
For Afghanistan, all would depend upon their bowlers. If they can pick up early wickets, that can send ripples in the English dressing room. Afghanistan might not win that day but they can try their best to make things hard for England. If they lose by a small margin, they would definitely earn the respect of England and rest of the world.
England will obviously win this match but only winning is not the objective here. They need to decimate Afghanistan to improve their net run rate. Of course they’ll get 2 points even if they win by a small margin but that might hurt them in the long run. Afghanistan have nothing to lose so they should take the fight to England and lose marginally.