Group 1, Super 12s
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG)
28.10.2022, @07:00 AM (+03:00 UTC)
The ICC T20 Men’s World Cup has been immensely close and we have seen a lot of unpredictable results. West Indies being ousted early is one of the big stories whereas there have been Associate nations that have made a lot of noise. Rain has also played spoilsport and two games have already been diluted due to it. So it happened during the battle between Afghanistan and New Zealand. Afghanistan is going to take on a strong Associate nation Ireland.Claim Your Welcome Bonus!
Afghanistan: Searching for momentum
Afghanistan's last game versus New Zealand was washed out due to rain and now they have just one point after two games. Thus, this game is potentially a knockout game for the Afghanis. In their maiden game against the English men, the Afghanistanis lost by five wickets with a couple of overs to spare. Their batting was not up-to-the-par in that game and only Ibrahmin Zadran and Usman Ghani scored 30 or so while the rest of the batting crumbled from the word go.
The bowling unit of Afghanistan is loaded especially in terms of spin bowling. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan gave below six runs an over in the game against England and Mohammad Nabi did a great job of holding the runs, with the three spinners striking once. This bowling unit has been the lifeline for Afghanistan for many years now and this is where they extract most of their advantage. Their pace bowling was decent with Fazalhaq Farooqi doing a great job but overall, it is the spin bowling that does the main deed.
Batting-wise, the team has two strong starters in Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz, but they rely more on power than innovation, something which can hurt on the pacy and bouncy Australian tracks. The middle order has glue players like Zadran, Ghani, and Nabi, but Afghansitan has been held back in recent years because their batters play too many skiers. They really need to sort out their batting.
Ireland: Comes in with momentum
Ireland comes in with momentum after defeating England by five runs in a game decided by Duckworth & Lewis system. In that game, Ireland batted first and posted 157 runs, which was a good total on the challenging MCG track. The main damage was done by skipper Andy Balbirnie who formed an 82 runs partnership alongside Lorcan Tucker. Andy ended up with 62 runs in 37 balls whereas Lorcan Tucker made 34 runs in 27 balls. Curtis Campher’s 11-ball 18 runs gave some impetus too but it was mostly Tucker and Andy who provided the major contributions.
Bowling-wise, Ireland was aggressive and put behind their below-average performance against Sri Lanka. Josh Little struck twice in his first two overs to remove Buttler and Hales and that was a game-changer. Fionn Hand bowled a lovely jag back delivery to get Ben Stokes whereas George Dockrell and Barry McCarthy had a wicket each while keeping the runs down as well. Mark Adair bowled an impressive two-over spell too, giving just 10 runs, and overall, the Irish effort was commendable.
These types of performances aren’t common for Ireland against the big guns but with their pace attack, they can have a strong effort in terms of bowling on the pacy Australian tracks. Their top order is blessed with an aggressive Paul Stirling and a balanced Andy Balbirnie. Lorcan Tucker has been in a good knick whereas Curtis Campher, Harry Tector, George Dockrell, and Gareth Delany form a strong middle-order. However, there have been collapses way often than Ireland would like.
Players to Watch
- Afghanistan: Batters: Ibrahim Zadran: 32 runs(1 Game), Usman Ghani: 30 Runs(1 Game), Mohammad Nabi: 3 Runs(1 Game);
- Bowlers: Rashid Khan: 1 Wicket(1 Game), Mujeeb Ur Rahman: 1 Wicket(1 Game), Mohammad Nabi: 1 Wicket(1 Game);
- Ireland: Batters: Paul Stirling: 122 runs( 5 games, Average: 30.50), Curtis Campher: 119 runs(5 games, Average: 39.66), Andy Balbirnie: 117 runs(5 games, Average: 23.40), Lorcan Tucker: 120 Runs (5 Games, Average:30.00);
- Bowlers: Ireland: Josh Little: 6 Wickets( 5 Games, Econ: 7.68), Gareth Delany: 4 Wickets( 6 Games, Econ: 7.15), Mark Adair: 4 Wickets( 4 Games, Econ: 7.12).
Expert Betting Tips
The rain threat looms large over the game and it is difficult to see how we will get 40 Overs in here. Fortunately, this game will be the first of the doubleheader, leading lesser room for a cut. However, there is a sense that rain will prevail here. The windy and rainy conditions will aid the Irish pacers as it did against England and it means they can have a slight advantage. The trouble is that you never know when Afghani batting gets in the mood and they have a tendency to get going against Associate nations. This is a tough one to call but I expect Ireland to exploit the pacy conditions and eke out a win.