Former cricketer Aakash Chopra felt that Afghanistan needs to unfurl the deadly spin duo of Mujeeb ur Rahman and Rashid Khan early on to counter Pakistan’s top-heavy batting lineup. The two sides are set to meet in a Group 2 clash in Dubai on Friday.
Afghanistan currently has two of the best spinners in T20I cricket. Mujeeb and Rashid accounted for nine wickets in their opening match against Scotland, recording a huge victory to start off their tournament. Against Pakistan, they should look to do the same, believes Chopra.
“If you look at Afghanistan’s point of view, first they have to play well against the pacers and then go all-out attack with their in-form spin bowlers. Open the bowling with Mujeeb.
“Yes, Rizwan thrashed Varun Chakravarthy, but I don’t think he can do the same against Mujeeb. Rizwan taps the fuller length deliveries and tries to hit the shorter balls, and mind you, Mujeeb never bowls short deliveries.”
“Once Fakhar comes in, Nabi should bowl. Nabi can use the big boundaries to his advantage. And then, of course, bring Rashid to strangle Pakistani batters in the middle overs. If everyone else does well, then Rashid will not only be economical but will fetch wickets as well,” Chopra said in a video on his YouTube channel.
“I can see Pakistan winning the game in two phases of the game” – Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra also implied that Pakistan can sneak ahead of its opponents in two crucial phases of the game. Babar Azam and co. have been fabulous with the ball in this tournament so far, and they’ll once again rely on their new ball bowlers to deliver.
“Pakistan can turn the match in their favour in two situations. First with the new ball when they bowl. And secondly, in the death overs when they’ll bat. If in the initial overs, you take a few Afghan wickets, you’ll peg them back.”
“And towards the second half, in the death overs, when Pakistan will be batting, Afghanistan doesn’t have quality death bowlers. So that’s the area where Pakistan can strike. I can see them winning this match in these two phases of the game,” Chopra added.
Pakistan sits at the top of the table with two wins in two games, while Afghanistan has one win from one match.