Afghanistan will hope for an improved show against Nepal when they play their last league clash at Bulawayo in ICC World Cup Qualifier on Saturday. Afghanistan have lost all their three games and have thin hopes to make it to the Super Six stage.
Afghanistan would have to beat Nepal by a big margin to gain two valuable points and a healthy net run-rate. They also need to pray that Hong Kong, who have two points from two games, lose their last two matches poorly to have a lesser net run-rate than Afghanistan who too would have two points if they beat Nepal on Saturday.
Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of the clash between Afghanistan and Nepal on Saturday.
Mohammad Nabi’s all-round show: The Afghanistan all-rounder has been a revelation in the tournament. He has struck two fifties in three games and taken four wickets as well. He has been an anchor in an otherwise sinking ship. The experienced Nabi should bat higher up the order, from No 5 to No 3, to led solidity to the innings. He has done the hard work for his team in all the three matches, but unfortunately failed to lead them to win.
Top-order failure: Although Afghanistan batting should shoulder most of the blame for three losses in three matches, their top-order’s inconsistency has hurt the team the most. Openers Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat failed to fire big for his team. Barring one fifty, No 3 Rahmat Shah has disappointed. Their middle-order was under pressure in all the three matches and failed to take the team across the finish line. Their batting failures have come as shock for the fans.
Paras Khadka: The Nepal skipper has led from the front in the two matches in ICC World Cup Qualifiers. He cracked 40 and 63 in the two matches. In the first match against Zimbabwe, Nepal put up a good batting effort, making 264 against Zimbabwe’s total of 380. In the next match, they ended up with 149 all out. Hence, Paras needs to inspire his team put up a better batting performance in the clash against Nepal. If Nepal win the next two matches, they can qualify for super six.
Must read: 10 best matches in ICC World Cup Qualifiers
Bowling lacks penetration: Nepal bowling lacks penetration as it conceded 380 runs in the clash against Zimbabwe. Nepal bowling also struggled in the next clash against Scotland. Nepal must produced an all-round show to compete against a struggling Afghanistan.
Prediction: Afghanistan had started favourites before the tournament and now, they are struggling to win a single match. They lost three consecutive matches. And now, they will look to play for pride in the clash against Nepal. Our vote goes to Afghanistan in this clash.
Possible winner: Afghanistan