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Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe – 1st T20I – Match Preview

Afghanistan

After an intense battle in the Test series, the focus now shifts to white ball cricket where Afghanistan and Zimbabwe will lock horns for a 3 match T20I series. Zimbabwe will be pleased with their effort in the longer format. The odds were against them, yet they delivered one of their best Test performances in recent times and drew the series 1-1. However, Afghanistan will be a hard nut to crack in T20Is, a format they are most comfortable in. It’s going to be a stern challenge for the visitors who’ve just managed to win a single game in nine outings against Afghanistan. The absence of Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine is a massive set back to Zimbabwe’s chances and they now rest their hopes on their skipper, Sean Williams and Sikander Raza. 

Afghanistan, on the other hand, will see this series as an opportunity to firm up their strongest squad for the World T20 later this year. However, they might not be able to get their best XI on the park as several of their players including the likes of Mujeeb ur Rahman and Gulbadin Naib are yet to arrive in UAE due to visa issues. The matches will be played on the Sheikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium, a ground that’s known to be slow in nature, and Afghanistan, having Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi in their kitty, will feel very confident of containing Zimbabwe. Their batting will revolve around Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammed Nabi and Asghar Afghan. Even though Afghanistan will not be playing their best XI, they will be confident of taking a 1-0 lead in the series. But Zimbabwe has shown that they are not willing to give up easily so an upset can also be on the cards

Probable XI Afghanistan (probable): 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 2 Usman Ghani, 3 Karim Janat, 4 Asghar Afghan (capt), 5 Mohammad Nabi, 6 Najibullah Zadran, 7 Afsar Zazai (wk), 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Naveen Ul Haq, 10 Amir Hamza, 11 Fareed Ahmad.

Probable XI Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Prince Masvaure, 2 Tinashe Kamunhukamwe/Kevin Kasuza, 3 Wesley Madhevere, 4 Sean Williams (capt), 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Ryan Burl, 7 Milton Shumba, 8 Regis Chakabva (wk), 9 Donald Tiripano, 10 Wellington Masakadza, 11 Blessing Muzarabani.

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