Under-pressure Pakistan keen to start afresh against Afghanistan
Our Prediction is Pakistan to win the 1st Warm-up game!
Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Pakistan is set to face Afghanistan in the first warm-up game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2009 at County Ground in Bristol on Friday.
Pakistan will be looking to make a significant improvement in their overall game after they were completely outplayed by a dominant one-day unit like England in the recently concluded one-day series. Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed will be hoping that the side can break their losing streak and deliver a good show against Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Afghanistan has improved a lot in limited-overs cricket since the last couple of years. Captain Gulbadin Naib will be hoping that side can put in a good show with the bat and ball against Pakistan
The side will need to improve their game with bat and ball in order to end their losing streak in the limited-overs format. Pakistan has managed to win only 2 one-day games out of 15 played so far this year. Sarfaraz Ahmed and co. will be looking to turn their fortunes around when they face Afghanistan in this warm-up game.
In the batting department, the side will be relying on their in-form players like Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, and Imam-ul-Haq to do the bulk of the scoring. The batting trio showed good form in the recently concluded one-day series against England.
Imam is currently Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in the format so far this season with 568 runs in 12 matches with two centuries to his name. His opening partner Fakhar Zaman also found a form with the bat and scored runs in the one-day series against England.
Babar Azam once again proved that he is a consistent performer for Pakistan in limited-overs cricket. In the recently concluded one-day series against England, he scored 277 runs at an average of 55.4. He will be looking to continue his good form with the bat in this warm-up game. The middle-order comprising of Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Haris Sohail contributed with crucial scores for the side in the five-match one-day series played against England.
Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed needs to bat higher in order to up the ante for Pakistan in the middle overs of the innings. The likes of Asif Ali and Imad Wasim have the ability to clear the ropes in the later stages of the innings.
In the bowling department, the side will be relying on the likes of Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, and Wahab Riaz to deliver breakthroughs with the new-ball. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan will play this game after fully recovering from viral infection.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain &wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Asif Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz.
Gulbadin Naib-led unit will be looking to make an impression with the bat and ball in the warm-up game against Pakistan. The side managed to level the two-match one-day series against Ireland played in Ireland.
In the batting department, the side will be relying on the likes of Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmat Shah, and Asghar Afghan to score the bulk of the runs. Wicket-keeper Mohammad Shahzad showed good form with the bat in the one-day series played against Ireland. The team will be hoping that he can get the side off to a flying start in the initial Powerplay overs.
Rahmat Shah and Asghar Afghan are bankable players for the side in the 50-over format. The duo will need to produce decent scores in this warm-up game. Hashmatullah Shahidi, Gulbadin Naib, and Najibullah Zadran are players that can score quickly at the back end of the innings. Najibullah Zadran has shown excellent this season and scored 193 runs in 6 games at an average of 96.50.
In the bowling department, the side will be relying on the likes of Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman to provide breakthroughs in this game. Dawlat Zadran and Gulbadin Naib are other prominent bowling options for this warm-up game.
Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib (captain), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
The pitch prepared for the game is expected to produce a lot of runs, but there is also going to be some assistance for the pacer. The weather forecast for the game to be played on Friday is going to be cloudy with a gentle breeze.
The side that wins the toss will be looking to bat first on this placid pitch. Spinners will need to use their variations to pick up wickets on this surface.
Pakistan will start as outright favorites to win this game despite their recent poor record in the limited-overs format. Sarfaraz Ahmed will be hoping that the bowlers can put in a much-improved performance in this warm-up game.
On the other hand, Afghanistan will need to produce their best game with bat and ball in order to challenge Pakistan in this warm-up game. Expect Pakistan to register a comfortable win at Bristol.
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