T20 WC: Be aware of Afghans, ex Coach warns India

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 19, 2024 IST

Rohit with Dravid

Mumbai, June 19: They are on a rise in a recent years. In ICC ODI World Cup 2023 in India, they did cause a few big upsets. In 2018 Asia Cup, they had a tie with India. 

Last year in the ODI World Cup, Australia had a narrow escape, thanks to Glenn Maxwell's super-human batting skills.

Considering all these aspects and realising they have nothing to lose against bigger teams like India and Australia, giant-killers Afghanistan are expected to compete hard against bigger teams in the Super Eight of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024.

Several former players and cricket experts feel Afghanistan with a quality spin-attack, a bunch of good all-rounders can really challenge Team India and Australia in the Super Eight.

Agrees Umesh Patwal, the former Afghanistan batting coach. Patwal has warned India to be really careful when facing the Rashid Khan-led side in the Super Eight clash of T20 World Cup at Barbados on Thursday, citing their ability to upstage big teams in global white-ball tournaments.

India have met Afghanistan eight times in men’s T20Is and have never lost to them in the format. The last time they met, India and Afghanistan were left tied at 212 each at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru this year and played out two Super Overs before the Rohit Sharma-led side eventually prevailed.

"India will have to be really careful because Afghanistan have really shown what they can do to England and other big teams in last year’s ODI World Cup. I think the only team they haven't beaten till now is India, so that would be next on their mind. I had predicted they would beat some big teams, and they did that.

"So, this time, India has to be careful about the way they are going to face Afghanistan. Nobody wants to miss such a big chance when coming into Super Eights. I remember at the Asia Cup, they had a tie against India in Dubai in 2018. So that one step is what they would be looking to go ahead this time, whether it's India or Australia," said Patwal in a conversation with IANS from Mumbai.

Apart from India and Afghanistan, Australia and Bangladesh make up for the rest of Group 1 in Super Eights. "Last year, in the ODI World Cup, in that crucial match, Maxwell got a double-hundred. So this is the time for them to come back. All these things will be on the players' minds.

"I'm really expecting them to be in the top four, so you will not be amazed to see them in the top two from their group in the Super Eights. I always expected them to play the semifinals, and I had this expectation even during the ODI World Cup last year. I won’t be surprised if they reach the final four here, because they are doing so well," added Patwal.

The former batting coach also wishes for Afghanistan to bat first against India and Australia, followed by building pressure on the formidable teams in the second innings. "Against India and Australia, they could bat first after winning the toss and then just make sure they put a lot of pressure on them in the second innings.

"Against Bangladesh, they will prefer to bowl first and get the match. The way Australia and India play against the spinners, this could be a big advantage for them. But as I said, Fazalhaq Farooqi, the left-arm fast bowler, is doing much better, so they have an added advantage now.

"If you remember, the 2016 T20 World Cup, West Indies lost only one match in India, to Afghanistan in Nagpur, which was a spin-friendly wicket. Earlier, the batters were not doing well. But now, even if they have to chase around 160 on these wickets, they would be more happy," he said.

Patwal, who also served as batting coach of Nepal, also noted that anything beyond a target of 160 can prove to be a tall order for Afghanistan, who were bundled out for 114 after West Indies posted 218/5 against them at St Lucia earlier this week.

"Once West Indies posted a big total at St Lucia, and Afghanistan didn’t get it, it showed that if the flow of runs doesn't start from get go, they don't get them quickly on the board and then tend to panic.”

Considering all these aspects, India have to play really well to overcome Afghanistan. The same also holds true for Australia. Rashid Khan & Co have all the qualities to challenge bigger teams and even pull up surprise wins in the white ball formats. (With IANS support) 

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