Afghanistan to take on Scotland on the first day of qualifying round
The qualifying round for ICC World T20 in India will start from March 8 at Nagpur. Afghanistan and Scotland will lock horns for the second match of the evening at Jamtha Stadium, Nagpur.
Both Afghanistan and Scotland qualified for preliminary group competition in India after playing the World T20 qualifying round in Ireland and Scotland. Host Scotland were joint-winners of the tournament with Netherlands. Afghanistan is currently ranked 9th in ICC T20 ranking chart while Scotland ranked 11th. Afghanistan has played three World T20 tournaments consecutively since 2010 so far and Scotland made their debut in 2007 and last played the 2009 edition. So this will be their third appearance.
Afghanistan got plenty of match practice against Zimbabwe in Africa and in UAE in the build up to the World T20. They also fought well in Asia Cup qualifying round. The war-torn country is trying to rebuild their nation with cricket as one of their media. So, a World T20 berth in super 10 will bring joy to the country while Scotland’s World T20 berth will give them a chance to play the World T20 for the third time after 2007 and 2009.
Strength and weakness
As per the recent form, Afghanistan will have an edge over the Scots. The Afganistan team have got batsmen like Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Stanikzai who can single-handedly change the course of the match. Scotland lost their first warm-up match to Netherlands. They have batsmen Preston Mommsen and Kyle Coetzer, but the Afghans with bowlers like Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan are favourite for their qualifier campaign.
But, talking about bowlers, Scotland has Josh Davey, who took everybody by surprise with his pace and swing bowling in 2015 World Cup as he was leading the chart of highest wicket takers till their campaign got over in the group phase. Davey produced a shocker against tournament finalist New Zealand by taking of wickets.
Pitch conditions and weather
However, a lot will depend on how the pitch will behave as Nagpur pitch is famous for high-scoring encounters. It is expected that the pitch will be a sporting one where both teams will have a chance to exploit the conditions. But, there will be a dew factor as the evening tilts towards night. So, winning the toss electing to field first will be a good idea.
What is at stake?
Both teams will play for a berth in Super 10.
This match will ring the bell for the 6th edition of World T20 2016. An intense battle is expected to happen for a two berths.
Afghanistan Squad: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Noor Ali Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Sadiq, Shafiqullah, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Hamid Hassan
Scotland Squad: Preston Mommsen (c), Kyle Coetzer (VC), Alasdair Evans, Calum MacLeod, Con de Lange, Gavin Main, George Munsey, Josh Davey, Mark Watt, Matt Machan, Matthew Cross, Michael Leask, Richie Berrington, Rob Taylor, Safyaan Sharif
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