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Pakistan vs Afghanistan: Mercurial Afghans can surprise Men in Green

Mercurial Afghans can surprise Men in Green
Pakistan vs Afghanistan Preview & Betting Tips
Afghanistan can make it tough for Pakistan and can pick up a win (AFP/Getty Images)
Conrad Castleton 21 Sep 2018
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Pakistan vs Afghanistan Preview & Betting Tips


The cruel scheduling takes its toll as Afghanistan play their second game in as many days, this time against Pakistan in their Asia Cup ‘Super Four’ opener at the Sheikh Jayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday. The nimble Afghans are beaming with confidence and could give Pakistan their second straight loss of the tournament.

Pakistan


The Men in Green summoned their inconsistent side of the game to crumble to an eight wicket loss against arch rivals India. This came on the heels of an eight wicket thrashing they delivered to Hong Kong.

The poor returns of Fakhar Zaman at the top cost them dearly, leaving top-order bat Babar Azam’s aggregate of 80 runs their lone shining beacon. The experienced Shoaib Malik look good against India for his 43 before getting dismissed.

Even the bowlers looked listless against India, throwing questions on the consistency of this unit. Left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir is yet to pick up a wicket and that tells the story of their struggles.
It is an analyst’s nightmare to predict Pakistan’s performances, but on current form they look vulnerable for a seize.

Afghanistan


Afghanistan have taken the tournament by storm with convincing wins over the more established units of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The 91 run thrashing of Sri Lanka and the 136 run win over Bangladesh highlighted the threat they bring.

Top-order bat Rahmat Shah has 72 runs while Hashmatullah Shahidi has bagged 95 runs. The spin trio of leg-spinner Rashid Khan, mystery spin of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and off-spinner Mohammad Nabi have shared 11 wickets, all at or lower than an ER of 3.14 runs per over.

Rashid Khan’s innings of 57* against Bangladesh showed how much of a threat he can be on the field, to go with his 2/13 and a run-out. The youngster can once again lead from the front, which should be bad news for Pakistan.

Head-to-Head


Pakistan have played and won two ODIs against Afghanistan, the last coming in the 2014 Asia Cup. An Umar Akmal century gave Pakistan a 72 run win. 

Match Up


Rashid Khan is tipped to continue his wicket-taking spree (AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan looked out of sorts, as openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq failed to have the same impact as they did in the previous series. One-down batsman Babar Azam leads the batting charts, but Pakistan are struggling for impact performances.

Afghanistan have no such worries and are enjoying playing their best game. With Rashid Khan leading their bowling charts, the batsmen can be happy with posting a 240-250 run total knowing that Rashid Khan’s efficient bowling will test the struggling Pakistan batsmen.

Key Statistics


  • Pakistan have won both the ODIs they played against Bangladesh.
  • Afghanistan have won 8 of their last 9 ODIs.
  • Afghanistan have won 6 of their last 7 ODIs played in UAE.
  • Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan has taken at least 2 wickets in 13 of the 18 ODIs he played in 2018.

Verdict


Pakistan and Afghanistan have followed contrasting trajectories in the tournament, with the mercurial Afghans keeping everyone on their toes with their performances. The Men in Green are traditional slow starters in a tournament, although his time around they may find it tough to go past Afghanistan. With Rashid Khan in such fine form, there could be another upset in the waiting.

Best Bet: Rashid Khan Afghanistan top team bowler @ 2.00
Win Bet: Afghanistan to win @ 3.25
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