Pakistan vs. Afghanistan
|Date & Time||Saturday June 29, 2019, 5:30 AM (EDT)|
Pakistan 1.14 Afghanistan 5.50
Pakistan take on Afghanistan at Headingly on Saturday with Pakistan still in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. They are sixth in the table with seven points and are just one point away from a place in the top four. Afghanistan sit bottom of the table and are the only team yet to pick up a point at this year’s World Cup.
Pakistan beat New Zealand in their previous match to keep their semi-final hopes alive. They won by six wickets with just five balls remaining in what was a thrilling encounter. They limited New Zealand to 237/6 with some excellent bowling and chased down their target in the final over.
Babar Azam scored a sublime unbeaten century to guide his team to victory. His 101 from 127 balls anchored the Pakistan batting innings in front of a lively crowd. Haris Sohail also batted well, making 68 and Mohammad Hafeez chipped in with 32 from 50.
Azam was the star batsmen against New Zealand but it was their bowlers that ultimately won them the match. They reduced the Black Caps to 83/5 in the 27thover, with only 20 runs scored between overs 10 and 20.
19-year-old Shaheen Afridi was the pick of the bowlers. He was swinging the ball with genuine pace and was a constant threat. He took the key wickets of Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham whilst strangling the run rate; finishing with figures of 3/28 from his 10 overs. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir both took a wicket each and Kahn was especially impressive.
On the other hand, Afghanistan were beaten by Bangladesh in their last match. They won the toss and opted to field but failed to bowl Bangladesh out. Taking all ten of their opposition’s wickets has been a real issue for Afghanistan throughout the tournament. 18-year-old Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures of 3/39 whilst Gulbadin Naib claimed two wickets.
The Afghanistan batsmen have really let them down recently. They were bowled out for just 200 in 47thover, chasing Bangladesh’s 262/7 for the victory. Samiullah Shinwari top scored with 49 and Naib chipped in with 47 but their efforts weren’t enough to help their side claim their first points at this year’s World Cup.
Pakistan are a very unpredictable team. They were thrashed by West Indies in their opening match but followed that up by beating the tournament favorites England. Their most recent victory proves that they can challenge the best sides in the competition as they put an end to New Zealand’s unbeaten record.
Afghanistan have gone close in a few of their matches but have failed to make a mark on the 2019 World Cup and are in danger of being eliminated without a point to their name.
With Pakistan still in with a shot of reaching the semi-finals and Afghanistan yet to win a match, Pakistan should cruise past Afghanistan and keep the pressure on the top four.