Afghanistan enjoy ‘psychological edge’ over Zimbabwe
NAGPUR/KABUL (Pajhwok): As Afghanistan elected to bat against Zimbabwe on Saturday in their do-or-die match in the ICC Twenty20 qualifiers event in Nagpur, India, the Afghans seem to envoy “a psychological edge.”
Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai chose to set a target in the knockout clash after the two teams won two matches each in their group and the winner of this match will enter the Super 10s stage of the World T20.
Afghanistan seemed to hold all the aces, having beaten Zimbabwe in all four of their previous T20I encounters and securing a comfortable win over Hong Kong. They kept the same team from that match for this one and expected conditions to be similar to what they were on Thursday.
The qualifying round involved eight teams divided into two groups with Afghanistan playing in Group B with Zimbabwe, Scotland and Hong Kong.
Afghanistan Cricket Board spokesman Farid Hotak told Pajhwok Afghan News that the side had worked out “a compressive plan” for their match against Zimbabwe.
He said both batting and bowling coaches Inzamamul Haq and Manoj Prabhaka a day earlier held meetings with the players and discussed with various aspects of the match against Zimbabwe and formulated a plan.
All-rounder Mohammad Nabi Issakhel also said they would go to the match against Zimbabwe with a comprehensive plan.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News that the team had played well in the previous two games and they would try to maintain the momentum in the third game.
“We don’t want a repetition of the Asia Games here. We have worked on our previous mistakes and problems and we have succeeded to overcome them to a greater extent.”
Issakhel, who was the man of the match against Hong Kong, said Zimbabwe would be under pressure in today’s game because Afghanistan had defeated them in the previous four matches.
The Afghan team last year toured Zimbabwe and defeated the hosts in two series on home grounds and later Afghanistan hosted Zimbabwe in the UAE and won both ODI and T20 series.
The Afghan team includes Mohammad Shahzad who has been playing well against Zimbabwe over the past one year and has obtained a 100 in a T20 and two 50s against Zimbabwe.
Issakhel has proved his mettle with both ball and bat and fast blower Samiullah Shinwari seems to be in good form while Shafiqullah Shafaq and Najib Zadard are not lagging behind anyone in making fast runs.
The return of fast bowler Hamid Hassam has strengthened the side’s morale while Rashid Khan has surprised the world with his performance.
While Zimbabwe have further weakened by the absence of three key players, but it is famous about cricket that it is unpredictable.
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