World Cup 2019: Afghanistan batting in search of lost touch

Afghanistan's batting has been a let down in the ongoing World Cup, with its top-order batsmen having shown little resilience.

Mohammad Nabi after being bowled during Afghanistan's World Cup match against South Africa.   -  AFP Photo

Afghanistan, buoyed by some impressive T20 performances, came to this World Cup with a lot of expectations. The team, however, has failed to deliver on those promises as its batting faltered time and again.

Their top-order batsmen have shown little resilience and Afghanistan has crossed the 200-run mark just once – against Australia (207 in 38.2 overs) in its opening match. Failing to attune their game to English conditions – where batsmen must bide their time to score runs – the Afghans have continued to commit hara-kiri, still batting in the T20 mode.

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“In a 50-over World Cup, you cannot play like T20s. They just want to play too many shots and that’s hurting the team,” former Afghanistan coach Lalchand Rajput told Sportstar.

The team is yet to bat through its full quota of overs in this edition of the tournament. From 69 for two in the 21st over, the side was bundled out for 125 in the 35th over against South Africa in its fourth match.

Rajput feels that it’s important to play the right shots. “They have to improve their batting mindset. You cannot afford to allow negativity to creep in,” Rajput, who is now associated with the Zimbabwe team, said.

“They have to play close to the body when ball is moving and occupy the crease. Also shot selection is very important – it is about surviving 300 balls.”

Read: Spin likely to be key in England-Afghanistan clash

After the South Africa debacle, even captain Gulbadin Naib had urged his batsmen to apply themselves better. “We did not play a 50-over game because we did not last. We have played a lot of cricket in the last few years, but there is pressure on the team. We did not take responsibility enough and that was the difference,” Naib had said.

Afghanistan, on the eve of the England game, is hoping to finally find its footing as far as batting is concerned. “We are trying to do well in all the departments, but it’s just that we are being unlucky,” the captain said.