The match is scheduled for Monday, 23rd October at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
After a promising start to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 with victories over Netherlands and Sri Lanka, Pakistan stumbled against tougher opponents, India and Australia. These consecutive defeats have left Pakistan with a slim margin for error as they aim for the six wins required to advance to the knockout stage.
Up next is Afghanistan, a team against which Pakistan holds a perfect 7-0 record in previous ODI encounters. This match comes at an opportune time for Pakistan to regain their form. However, their last 50-over match against Afghanistan was a close call, with Pakistan securing victory with just one wicket and one ball to spare.
In that match, Afghanistan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran scored a combined 157 runs for the first wicket. Gurbaz, who scored 151 runs in that match, has continued his impressive form with a quick 80 against England, contributing to Afghanistan’s victory. Pakistan will need to be cautious of these openers, as well as spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), 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.
Players to Watch
Pakistan – Shaheen Shah Afridi
Shaheen Afridi’s performance will be crucial for Pakistan’s chances of reaching the semi-finals. Despite a slow start to the World Cup and battling illness, Afridi took 5/54 against Australia. His express pace can intimidate batters, and he will be key in the face-off against Afghanistan’s openers.
Afghanistan – Rahmanullah Gurbaz
One of the rising stars of white-ball cricket, Gurbaz has shown his potential at the World Cup with a match-defining 80 against England. The 21-year-old has consistently started well in all his innings at the World Cup. Pakistan will need to be wary of his talents as Afghanistan’s chances of another win likely rest on his performance.