Warmup Match: Game 2
Stadium: Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram, India
29 September 2023
South Africa and Afghanistan are going head to head in the second warmup game of the World Cup 2023 at Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram, India on 29th September. South Africa is coming off a series win against Australia a home and the confidence will be high. Who will win this game?Claim Your Welcome Bonus!
South Africa form
South Africa enters this match with a significant confidence boost after clinching a series victory over Australia in the ODI format. Despite being two-nil down in the five-match series, they made an impressive comeback to secure a three-two win. This victory provides a timely morale boost for a country that has historically struggled in World Cups.
The Proteas, however, will be missing fast bowlers Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala, who withdrew from the squad due to injuries shortly before their trip to India. To fill these gaps, all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo and seamer Lizaad Williams have been chosen as replacements. This match offers them an early opportunity to acclimatize to sub-continental conditions.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock is set to retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup, making this tournament his final chance to showcase his significant value at the top of South Africa's batting order in the limited-overs format. De Kock brings a wealth of experience in Indian conditions, having played in the Indian Premier League. His role becomes even more crucial in the absence of fellow opener Temba Bavuma, who will be unavailable for South Africa's World Cup matches.
The spin duo of Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi will play a pivotal role in South Africa's campaign. Maharaj predominantly turns the ball away from right-handers, while Shamsi turns it toward them. Maharaj recently returned from an injury-induced hiatus, so there might be some rustiness to overcome. Shamsi, on the other hand, can capitalize on extra bounce if not additional turn in these conditions.
South Africa Predicted Lineup
Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram (c), Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi
While Afghanistan may be considered underdogs at this World Cup, they have proven their ability to upset stronger teams on their day. It's worth noting that they qualified for the tournament ahead of teams like West Indies, Zimbabwe, and Ireland, among others, showcasing their potential to make an impact.
However, their recent performance in ODI cricket has been less than stellar, including a couple of defeats at the 2023 Asia Cup and a series whitewash against Pakistan. This lack of momentum could pose challenges for their World Cup campaign. Nonetheless, a victory or a strong showing against South Africa in this match could serve as a source of inspiration and set a more positive tone for their future matches.
The return of fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq to Afghanistan's ODI squad is significant. Like Quinton de Kock for South Africa, he too will retire from this format of international cricket after the World Cup. The playing conditions in Thiruvananthapuram, as well as other Indian venues, may favor his ability to generate extra pace and bounce, particularly on slower pitches.
Key all-rounders Azmatullah Omarzai and Rashid Khan are expected to play pivotal roles for Afghanistan in this match and throughout their World Cup campaign. Rashid Khan, renowned as one of the finest leg-spinners in world cricket, brings his expertise to the team, while Azmatullah Omarzai's multifaceted skills with both bat and ball provide valuable balance to the starting XI.
Afghanistan Predicted Lineup
Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Noor Ahmad
Expert betting tips
The Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram is set to host its first-ever international cricket match, making it an appropriate venue for this warm-up fixture and others. It's highly probable that the captain winning the toss will choose to bat first.
This decision may not necessarily be influenced by specific pitch conditions but rather to provide the batsmen an early opportunity to get accustomed to Indian pitches, while also allowing the bowlers to gain experience on pitches that might deteriorate as the match progresses.
As seen in many Indian venues, some pitches tend to deteriorate over time, becoming more conducive to spin bowling. Therefore, it will be intriguing to observe whether either team opts to utilize a spinner as their opening bowler in either the first or second innings.
Both teams are expected to use this match as an opportunity to experiment with various selections and personnel combinations. Nevertheless, they will aim to post competitive totals. In recent ODI cricket, scores exceeding 350 have become the norm, and similar expectations apply to this match.
Despite the absence of players like Magala, Nortje, and Bavuma, South Africa possesses greater depth compared to Afghanistan. Importantly, the Proteas have the ability to pace themselves effectively over 50 overs, which can be a formidable challenge for Afghanistan, who are more accustomed to T20 competition. With these factors in mind, it's a reasonable bet to favour South Africa to win this Cricket World Cup warm-up encounter.