T20 World Cup 2021: The Afghan challenge for struggling Indians

Afghanistan's star leg-spinner Rashid Khan will be confident heading into the game after watching the star Indian batters struggle against spin.

After the loss to New Zealand in Dubai, India skipper Virat Kohli said the batters were not brave enough.   -  AP

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, was called the sleeping giant in the startup business ecosystem till not so long ago.  It will be interesting to see if the sleeping giant of the ICC T20 World Cup - Team India - wake up at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

After the loss to New Zealand in Dubai, India skipper Virat Kohli said the batters were not brave enough. It will not be easy this time around as well. Keeping in mind the fall of Kabul and the political turmoil that hampered preparations, Afghanistan has been a competitive side in the T20 World Cup.


In recent times, Afghanistan has emerged as one of the most fearless cricket teams in the international T20 arena. Not only did it secure direct qualification to the World Cup but has also notched up the highest total of the tournament (190) so far in its first game.

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The burly Afghan batters will be itching to deploy the long handle against a bowling line-up that has only one wicket-taker so far. India struggled against the New Zealand spinners, which will make Rashid Khan and Co. confident heading into the game.

Rashid Khan.   -  AP


It will be interesting to see if Hardik Pandya fits into the squad and if Suryakumar Yadav returns, along with Ishan Kishan. The experiment to let Ishan open with K.L. Rahul failed against the Kiwis. The rejigged middle-order could not deliver either. It remains to be seen if India sticks to any of the two previous combinations.

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The bowling group has had its back against the wall. Jasprit Bumrah had little support. Varun Chakravarthy failed to deceive either Pakistan or New Zealand batters with his mystery spin. India could field leg-spinner Rahul Chahar or veteran off-spinner R. Ashwin against the Afghans.

The road to the semifinal is all but blocked. A win on Wednesday can help the fans, and statisticians, keep their interest alive in India's campaign.

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