Afghanistan set to surprise Pakistan

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A confident Afghanistan will fancy their chances of a series victory against a new look Pakistan side in the three-match T20 series, which gets under way at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium tonight. Remaining two matches to be played on Sunday and Monday.

Afghanistan are coming into the match on the back of a series win against the UAE. Afghanistan have also recalled former skipper Mohammad Nabi after leaving him out of the three-match T20 series against UAE that they won 2-1 last month. Captain Rashid Khan predicted a tough series and vowed to give their best.

Both the countries have passionate fans and they have often indulged in heated arguments during the matches. Pakistan will be led by the young skipper Shadab Khan.

A full-strength Pakistan lost their last series against New Zealand on their home turf. Pakistan have rested their front line players along with the regular captain Babar. They drafted seven uncapped players from the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Shadab will lead Pakistan second time. He was named as the captain against New Zealand in the ODI series, which Pakistan lost 2-1. Shadab exuded confidence in his youthful team.

Both the teams have met three times before and Pakistan have beaten Afghanistan in all three previous T20Is — a one-off match in 2013 in Sharjah, T20 World Cup 2021 and Asia Cup last year.

Shadab was doubtful whether playing during the Holy month of Ramadan will take its toll on them.

Pakistan agreed to play the series, the first bilateral between the two countries, in place of three one-day internationals that Afghanistan were supposed to play against Australia this month.

Cricket Australia pulled out of that series following an announcement from Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban that it was banning university education for girls and not forming a women’s cricket team. Match starts at 7pm Sharjah time.


Pakistan: Shadab Khan (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir, Zaman Khan

Afghanistan: Rashid Khan (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Usman Ghani, Sediqullah Atal, Najibullah Zadran, Afsar Zazai, Karim Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Fareed Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq.

By: Saif R Siddiqui

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