Hope drives Afghanistan's warriors

back icon
safari
29 May 2019 | 07:36 AM
author

Hope drives Afghanistan's warriors

Rashid Khan will hold the key to ensure sprightly World Cup campaign

heart

Share

The story of Afghanistan is best captured in a phrase made famous by former US President Barack Obama: The Audacity of Hope.

A nation plagued by endless war and crippling poverty has found, in cricket, a way out of the dark, a means to let the world know that there is more to their country than “terrorism”.

From the dusty pitches and extreme temperatures of the Pashtu region to calling the picturesque Dharamsala home, Afghanistan’s growth has been the talk of the cricketing world. After gaining ODI status in 2011, its progress has escalated by leaps and bounds.

When the nation made its World Cup debut in 2015, Afghanistan registered its first win, against Scotland, but otherwise failed to create any kind of impact. But since then, Afghanistan’s rise has been mercurial, with a galaxy of stars emerging led by poster-boy Rashid Khan.

In the lead up to the latest edition of the 10-team tournament, Afghanistan has hit a purple patch, bettering the West Indies in the qualifying tournament in 2018.

Minnows no longer, thanks to the spin duo of Rashid and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Afghanistan will look to punch above its weight starting with its first fixture against the mighty Australians on June 1.

In 2017, Mohammad Shahzad was banned for a doping violation but one year after his return, the explosive opener has been just the impetus Afghanistan has required. Shahzad has gone on to become Afghanistan’s highest ODI run-getter, with 2619 at an impressive strike-rate of 88. His opening partner Hazrathullah Zazai is as attacking as Shahzad, though he reserves his best for T20Is. How soon he adapts to the 50 over format will be a key question that determines the fortunes of his side.


article_image

Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi will be the consolidators in the middle overs – the experience the latter brings is a key component of the side.

Shah has been Afghanistan’s top scorer in the last 12 months, scoring 948 including two centuries. His strike rate of 74 however is the issue – and Afghanistan will have to find a way of either getting him to ramp up, or use him as anchor and find a strike force to bat around him.


article_image

 Despite the chinks in the batting, Afghanistan has depended on the fabled spin twins Rashid and Mujeeb, now joined by Nabi, to bail them out. Both feature on the list of spinners with highest wickets since 2018, and will be the trump card in conditions that could assist spin.

 

 

article_image

Coming off a fantastic performance in the Indian Premier League, Rashid will also double up as an effective death bowling option. Plus, he has the ability to produce little late order cameos. 

Since 2018, Rashid’s economy rate in the last ten overs ranks amongst the elite in one day cricket.


article_image

The Afghans don’t possess a lot in terms of pace bowling, barring Hamid Hassan. Hassan has been a good wicket-taking option, and will be tasked with pegging the opposition back early on.


article_image

No side in the 2019 CWC will take Afghanistan lightly; the side is capable of creating upsets. But for a team still feeling its way into the upper echelons of the sport, getting beyond the league phase could prove to be a bridge too far.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Rashid KhanAfghanistanMujeeb Ur RahmanICC World Cup 2019

Related Articles

safari
ONTHISDAY
When India passed a tough test against Afghanistan
On this day in 2019, India defeated Afghanistan by 11 runs in a thrilling World Cup contest
userNitin Fernandes
22 Jun 2020
safari
ANALYSIS
New captains, new coaches and new era
Afghanistan and West Indies kick start the ODI series at Lucknow on Wednesday
userHardik Worah
05 Nov 2019
safari
NEWS
Politics spices up Pakistan-Afghanistan tie
Many Afghan players learnt their cricket in Pakistan
userAFP
29 Jun 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Unequipped Afghanistan out to avoid another embarrassment
Afghanistan yet to get off the mark in the tournament will face the in-form Indian side
userShubh Aggarwal
21 Jun 2019
safari
NEWS
Every game at the World Cup a learning curve, says Gulbadin Naib
The Afghanistan captain is eager to see some spin at Old Trafford.
userICC Media Release
17 Jun 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Mismatch on paper, mismatch on the field
Afghanistan will be looking for an elusive win turning up against the pre-tournament favorites, England
userShubh Aggarwal
17 Jun 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Proteas continue their quest to stay relevant
Both South Africa and Afghanistan search for their first-ever win in the 2019 World Cup.
userPramod Ananth
14 Jun 2019
safari
NEWS
Losing Shahzad a big blow to Afghanistan, admits Naib
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad was ruled out on Thursday after suffering a recurrence of a nagging knee injury.
userAFP
08 Jun 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Afghanistan, Sri Lanka look for elusive first win
Both teams were outplayed in their opening games of this World Cup
userShubh Aggarwal
03 Jun 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Afghanistan vs Australia- Defending champions, Australia have an easy affair against the underdogs
Last time these two sides met in a World Cup on 4th March 2015, David Warner scored a match-winning 178 runs his second highest score in ODIs till now
userAvijit Dutta
31 May 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved