Scotland’s Home Battle against Afghanistan
Our Prediction is for Afghanistan to win this game!
In the first game of the two-match ODI series hosts Scotland will lock horns against Afghanistan at Grange Cricket Club, Edinburgh. For the hosts who are suffering from lack of opportunities against the bigger teams, it would be a good chance to try their strength against a resurgent Afghan side. For Afghanistan, this series presents a great opportunity for the side to test their strength in conditions similar to those in England where they would soon play the World Cup.
The sides have shared a good rivalry over the last many years but in recent times it has been the Afghans who have dominated contests. It will be interesting to see how the Scottish team challenges the Afghans especially their army of spinners.
The last time Kyle Coetzer’s side played an ODI they won against England in a high scoring encounter which has been their best ODI win ever. The skipper would want his side to rekindle the same magic as they take on the Afghans. Coetzer would know it won’t be easy against the spinners that his opponents have and would want his side to put the best foot forward.
The opening combination of Kyle Coetzer and Matthew Cross looks strong for the side. In the middle order, the likes of Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, and George Munsey hold the key for the side's win. With a strong lower order they have the batting firepower to take on their opponents.
It is the bowling department where the side has a big challenge. Safyaan Sharif and Mark Watt will need to offer good start with the new ball and the likes of Michael Leask and Alasdair Evans need to keep their line tight for the side to win the contest.
Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer (c), Calum MacLeod, Alasdair Evans, Safyaan Sharif, Matthew Cross (wk), Michael Leask, Brad Wheal, Mark Watt, George Munsey, Gavin Main
It is a big test for skipper Gulbadin Naib. His recent elevation to captaincy was criticized by many of his fellow teammates. With World Cup around the horizon, he would have to steer his team to success in the first game of the series. He would know that the Scottish players have a better understanding of the conditions and hence his side will need to do well in the game.
They have a strong opening combination of Mohammad Shahzad and Hashmatullah Shahidi and the middle order for the side is packed with experienced campaigners including the former skipper Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari who have done well in the recent times and would be looking to set the score going against Scotland.
It is their bowling attack that offers them the edge. Dawlat Zadran and Mujeeb Ur Rahman would have to pick wickets early with the new ball and set the stage for Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi to take on the Scottish middle order. It would be a challenge for the Afghan spinners in these kinds of wickets but they would use their vast experience to good effect.
Gulbadin Naib (c), Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran
Edinburgh’s weather is expected to be overcast on May 08 with chances of rain. The cold weather conditions would make it tough for the batsmen as the ball is expected to move around. The team that bats first should hold its wickets and eye a score in the range of 280 runs on this track.
The Grange Cricket Club, Edinburgh has always been a paradise for the fast bowlers who get assistance from the wicket. The ball moves off the pitch as well as in the air and the large size of the ground also makes hitting through the line challenge for the batsman.
The conditions are expected to be cloudy and this will be an advantage to the fast bowlers early on in the game when the pitch is fresh. The side winning the toss would like to bowl first on this wicket and dismiss the opponents for a small total.
Afghanistan has made great progress in the last year or so in ODI cricket but as they take on Scotland in the first game of the two-match series they would have to battle the conditions apart from their opponents. The Scotts have done well at home in recent times. But the visitors would be banking on their spinners to win the game for them. It is pretty close between the two sides but Afghanistan’s better bowling attack gives them the edge going into this game.
We are backing Afghanistan for the win!
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