New Zealand (1.12) at Afghanistan (6.00)
Men’s Cricket World Cup, Saturday, 8 June 2019 at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton at 12.30 GMT.
Weather: Prediction of heavy rain before the match. Might result in a delayed start.
Free Cricket Pick New Zealand vs. Afghanistan
New Zealand: The Kiwis have won both their encounters in the World Cup campaign so far and if things do go well, the can have a hat trick of win tomorrow evening. Their team is doing well and almost all the departments are doing well, okay, some only moderately well, as they did make heavy weather of the 244 total against Bangladesh. The problem against Bangladesh was that none of their batsmen, apart from the veteran Ross Taylor could capitalize on the start they got.
The openers are expected to blast their way through the opposition and both Guptill and Munro have that ability but were found wanting on the technical ground against the moving ball, especially Munro. Their Captain is one gritty player and will try to dig the team out of a hole but he has not been in the best of forms but as they say “form is temporary, class is permanent.” Likewise, Williamson might just be one hit away from that magical form. Taylor is a wily old fox and his ton of experience is invaluable for the team. The all-rounders did not come good for the team on the batting fore; De Grandhomme and Neesham did little while batting. But then it has been just one match
The bowlers did exceedingly well in both the matches. Henry seems to have reinvented himself and is successful in keeping the batsmen on their toes, by the virtue of his accuracy and the movement he can extract both in the air and off the pitch. Boult has been equally good, swing the ball initially at good speeds. And the best thing about the attack is that even after the opening bowlers are done with their spells the pressure is not relieved and the batsmen have be on their guard as they face the pacey Ferguson and the nibbly Colin de Grandhomme. England is one tough place for the spinners to bowl but Santner has done the best he could in the two matches he has played
Afghanistan: They have lost their matches so far in the tournament and though they have shown spunk, they have not been able to turn that spunk into a performance ensuring them a win. There have been instances of individual brilliance but they have not been enough to win them a match. And frankly speaking, their batsmen have struggled against the pace and bounce generated by the world class bowlers. Though theirs have been a rapid rise to the top 10 rank of cricket playing nations in the world, they are not yet at par with them. Najibullah Zadran has been good in both the games he has played and looked a far better batsmen that the other batsmen preceding him. The same can be said of the Captain too, though he not a proper batsmen, he has shown much more maturity and even skill than the top order batsmen
On the bowling front, their biggest let down has been the failure of their spin sensation Rashid Khan. He has not had the same effect he had had initially in the past couple of months and that has led to him being taken for a plenty of runs. He had never been a big flighter of the ball, and his speeds have always been a bit on the higher side and yet it was his variations that had wreaked all the havoc but now the batsmen are starting to read the variations! The other two spinners have been good, Nabi particularly so. Hamid Hassan the fast bowler, making a comeback into the team has bowled exceedingly well. He was fast, accurate and was getting the ball to move off the pitch in the match against Australia. Gulbadin Naib has given him good company on the other end.
Cover The Spread Probable XI:
New Zealand: A change is not expected, however, Tim Southee might make a come back if he gains his fitsness back. And Munro might make way for Nicholls in case Nicholls is back to full fitness and the selectors lose faith in Munro’s ability against the moving ball. However, both a improbable this early in the tournament.
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham(WK) , James Neesham, Collin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Afghanistan: The injury of Mohmad Shahzad has resulted in the call up of Ikram Ali Khil, he will donn the gloves.
Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hasmatullah Shahidi, Ikram Ali Khil (WK), Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib(C), Hajibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Mujib-ur-Rahman.
ESPN MLB Scores Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka
This is going to be an uneven match up. The Afghani might come up with a few sparks as they have done in their last two matches, but they do not have the caliber to win against a team almost at the helm of their powers.
Free Pick: New Zealand 1.12