Namibia brace for toughest test yet as Afghanistan look to return to winning ways

back icon
30 Oct 2021 | 11:55 AM
authorPramod Ananth

Namibia brace for toughest test yet as Afghanistan look to return to winning ways

Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have wreaked havoc in the tournament so far with very little support from other bowlers

After handing Scotland a drubbing, Afghanistan finished second best against Pakistan, but put up a good fight. In a lot of firsts, Namibia, who made it to the T20 World Cup for the very first time, have not just made it to the Super 12s for the first time, but have also registered their first win at this stage in their very first attempt. They are now on a three-match winning streak but will have their biggest test of the tournament when they play Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Sunday (October 31).

In the two matches Afghanistan have played so far, their dependence on their spin duo of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan has been brought to the fore. 

Out of the 15 wickets picked up by the Afghanistan bowlers this series, 12 have been picked up between Rashid and Mujeeb alone, while the rest of the bowing attack have been below par to say the least. In both the matches, Afghanistan have used just the five bowlers. Perhaps a couple of overs from Gulbadin Naib would certainly not hurt. They missed their sixth bowler against Pakistan and will want to rectify that going into this match.

There is a bit of concern regarding’s Mujeeb’s fitness as he limped off after his four-over spell against Pakistan, accompanied by the physio. It would be a huge blow for Afghanistan, and a lucky break for Namibia, if he doesn’t take field on Sunday.

If Mujeeb were to miss out, Afghanistan do not have any ore spinners left on the bench. They will have to get in an extra batsman or an extra pacer.

A case for Fareed Ahmad

There’s little doubt that the left-arm seamers have been the x-factors in this edition of the World Cup. Shaheen Afridi proved it and so has Namibia’s Ruben Trumpelmann. In Abu Dhabi, more than 26% of the wickets have fallen to left-arm pacers, which is the second-best bowling type after tight-arm pacers (40.90%). 

Moreover, the left-arm fast bowlers have a better balls per wicket ratio (15.6) and runs per wicket ratio (18) compared to the right-arm quicks for whom the corresponding numbers are 17.3 and 18.3 respectively.

Other than Trumpelmann, Namibia have Jan Frylinck and JJ Smit who bowl left-arm seam and could very well be a threat here. Afghanistan too should do their bit to negate the threat. Getting Fareed in could be one such move.

Batting a concern for Namibia?

Among the active teams in the T20 World Cup, only West Indies have a lower run-rate (6.3) than Namibia (6.6). Especially when a team is asked to set a total, Namibia’s slow and cautious approach might backfire. Their top-order (1-3) too have been below par in the tournament, scoring at just 5.2 an over, which has led to them not scoring more than 30-31 on an average in the first six overs.

Afghanistan will prove to be a tougher test for them given Mujeeb’s prowess in the powerplay. They will have to figure out a way to negotiate him and put up a decent powerplay score, which will set the tone for the rest of the innings.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, played fearless cricket against Pakistan with them not getting bogged down despite wickets tumbling. Their approach has therefore taken them to the top when it comes to the batting run-rate and are likely to go in with the same approach in this game too.

What’s at stake for both sides?

Afghanistan could be among the dark horses who can make it to the semi-final, but for Namibia, it is a chance to prove that they can emerge victorious against a top side. They have already brushed aside Test-playing Ireland in the first round, but if they were to beat Afghanistan it would be a bigger fish.

Afghanistan may have beaten Scotland convincingly, Namibia is the only ‘easy’ match for them as they will take on New Zealand and India after this. A win over Namibia could see them needing just one win out of two to see them through, given that they have a significantly high net run-rate.

Likely XIs: 


For the Eagles, they could perhaps consider solidifying their batting line-up with Stephan Baard coming into the side in place of Jan Nicol Loftie Eaton. They have already had three opening combinations in four matches and it is high time they settle down as far as their top-order is concerned.

Likely XI: Craig Williams, Zane Green (wk), Gerhard Erasmus (c), David Wiese, Michael van Lingen, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Stephan Baard/Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz


Afghanistan perhaps look the best they have looked in any world event. Their aim will be to brush aside Namibia just as easily as Mohammad Nabi brushed aside the question relating to unrest back home, following the Pakistan defeat. Barring their sixth bowling conundrum, Afghanistan do not have much to address against Namibia.

Likely XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Karim Janat/Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

shareGray Share
Afghanistan vs NamibiaICC World Twenty20, 2021AfghanistanNamibiaRashid KhanMujeeb Ur RahmanDavid WieseGerhard Erasmus

Related Articles

Out of semi-final contention, India aim to give Kohli a fitting captaincy farewell
Monday’s clash against Namibia will be Virat Kohli’s final match as the captain of the T20I side
userAnirudh Suresh
07 Nov 2021
NZ, Afghanistan begin T20 rivalry with keen interest from India
With Pakistan, England and Australia through to the knockouts, this match offers the prospects of sealing the four semi-finalists
userShubh Aggarwal
06 Nov 2021
Can India rediscover their mojo against in-form Afghanistan?
Kohli and Co. are almost out of the semifinal race and will need quite a few things to go in their favour to qualify for the knockouts
userHardik Worah
02 Nov 2021
Namibia gear up for toughest task against in-form Pakistan
After a fairytale run in the tournament, can Namibia overhaul the Pakistan juggernaut?
userShweta Haranhalli
01 Nov 2021
Ruthless Afghanistan decimate Namibia to consolidate second spot
It was yet another bowling clinic from Afghanistan, who have now put themselves in pole position to qualify staff
31 Oct 2021
Afghanistan vs Namibia, ICC T20 World Cup 2021, Match 27: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips that might help you create your fantasy team for Match 27 of the ICC T20 World Cup staff
30 Oct 2021
Namibia edge past Scotland following Ruben Trumpelmann's dream spell
The Namibia pacer picked up three wickets in the first over of the match, which did not allow Scotland to recover staff
27 Oct 2021
Namibia and the nerves of steel
At 67/4, chasing 110, the game was in favour of Scotland, owing to their wealth of experience
userAakash Sivasubramaniam
27 Oct 2021
History beckons as Scotland, Namibia seek maiden win in Super 12s
While Scotland were crushed by Afghanistan, Namibia will start afresh after their excellent show in the previous round
userPramod Ananth
26 Oct 2021
All to play for in Group A as Ireland, Namibia look to progress to the Super 12s
Sri Lanka, who have qualified for the Super 12s, will take on the Netherlands in the other Group A match
userPramod Ananth
21 Oct 2021
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
@ 2020 | All rights reserved