Following a spin-friendly track in their tournament opener at Chepauk, the stage is set for a high-scoring affair at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla, where more than 700 runs were scored in a recent showdown between South Africa and Sri Lanka.
However, India faced adversity with Shubman Gill ruled out of the match due to dengue. In his absence, Ishan Kishan will join Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. Kishan and Shreyas Iyer faced criticism for their shot selection in the previous match against Australia, making it imperative for them to display more composed batting in this crucial fixture. Kishan’s performance could shape his ODI World Cup journey, particularly if Gill’s fitness remains uncertain for the upcoming encounter with Pakistan.
While facing the Afghan bowling attack is expected to be comparatively less challenging than contending with bowlers like Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, the smaller dimensions of the Delhi ground, where 31 sixes were struck in the last game, will favour strokeplay. The relaid main square has introduced a new dimension to the pitch, offering an intriguing challenge for the batsmen.
Virat Kohli, a chase master, will have the unique opportunity to showcase his skills while batting in front of a pavilion named after him. Fans have high expectations from Kohli, especially after his impressive partnership with KL Rahul in Chennai.
Rahul has been a consistent performer for India’s batting lineup since the Asia Cup last month. Despite facing criticism, the team management has demonstrated unwavering faith in him, and he has responded with remarkable contributions against Pakistan and Australia.
Will Virat Kohli fire on all cylinders in 2023 World Cup?
In the bowling department, India may contemplate changes based on the playing conditions. If they opt for a less spin-centric approach, Mohammad Shami could come in for R Ashwin, who delivered a commendable performance in Chennai. This potential change may be the only alteration to the playing eleven.
On the opposing side, Afghanistan, recovering from a significant loss to Bangladesh, is determined to turn their fortunes around in Delhi. With a substantial Afghan community residing in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar, the team can anticipate robust local support.
Bowling, primarily their spinners, has traditionally been Afghanistan’s forte, but their batsmen must rise to the occasion for the team to make a significant impact in the World Cup. Although openers like Rahmanullah Gurbaz are in good form, Afghanistan’s recent batting struggles, including a disappointing total of 156 all-out against Bangladesh, raise concerns.
Afghanistan’s bowling arsenal comprises spinner Mujeeb Zadran and the enigmatic Rashid Khan. While Rashid can be a daunting proposition in T20s, batters in ODIs have more time to negotiate him without taking unnecessary risks, as evidenced in the game in Dharamsala where Bangladesh accumulated 48 runs from his nine overs without losing a wicket. Afghanistan is hoping their batting lineup can complement their formidable bowling unit, allowing them to secure a vital victory against India.
IND VS AUS World Cup Thriller: Kohli-Rahul’s record 4th wicket partnership powers India to 6 wicket victory
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Suryakumar Yadav, Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur.
Afghanistan: Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Naveen ul Haq.
Match starts: 2:00 pm.