Injury troubled England meet win less Afghanistan for match 24 of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Struck by a series of injury setbacks, England will look to get the combination right when they take on the low-ranked but spirited Afghanistan in their bid get closer to a semi-final berth at Emirates Old Trafford, in Manchester on June 18.
The hosts are struggling with fitness issues, the latest being captain Eoin Morgan having to leave the field with a back spasm during the game against the West Indies.
Opening batsman Jason Roy was also forced off the field during the same match due to a tight hamstring.
Himself in doubt for the match Morgan insisted there is no need to hit the panic button just yet.
"It is sore. I have had back spasms before and it normally takes a few days to settle down. It is unclear, we will know more in the next 24 hours. You normally get a good indication the following day," Morgan said after the victory against West Indies.
"Jason had a tight hamstring and will go for a scan. I think when any two players go down it is a bit of a worry but it is not panic stations yet."
In case Morgan isn't fully fit, vice captain Jos Buttler is likely to lead the team which boasts of a strong bench strength that includes the likes of Tom Curran and Moeen Ali.
After suffering a shock loss to Pakistan, England have got their act together, excelling in all three departments and the hosts will want to continue riding on the winning momentum.
On the other hand, Afghanistan will be eager to post their first win in the ongoing 50-over showpiece.
Playing in their second World Cup, the bottom-placed Afghanistan lost all four of their matches till now to South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand respectively.
However, the players from the war-torn nation can take confidence from the fact that they almost pulled off a win against Sri Lanka.
The main concern will be batting as Afghanistan are yet to play out 40-plus overs in any of their games.
They made an encouraging start against South Africa, with openers Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran watchfully negotiating the early overs but failed to capitalise on that.
The rest of the team could not reach double digits apart from Rashid Khan, who once again showed that he is shaping up to be a talented all-rounder.
The conditions, and whether the wicket supports spin, will play a crucial for the Afghans who rely heavily on their tweakers Rashid and Mohammad Nabi to get them the breakthroughs.
Where to watch live:
The match starts at 3.00 pm IST. It will be broadcast live on the StarSports network in India. Online viewers can log in to Hotstar for all the live action.
Old Trafford, Manchester pitch report and weather conditions:
The track used for India vs Pakistan game was a batting paradise. India batting first posted 336/5. Expect another high scoring fixture. Weather is expected to be overcast.
England are battling injury crisis with their skipper Eoin Morgan and in form opener suffering back spasm and tight hamstring respectively. Against lowly Afghanistan, the team management might give the two players rest. Afghanistan are not dealing with any injury issue.
ENG possible XI: James Vince, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (c/wk), Ben Stokes, Tom Curran, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer
AFG possible XI: Hamid Hassan, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Noor Ali Zadran, Aftab Alam, Gulbadin Naib (c), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Hazratullah Zazai
Players to watch out for
Joe Root scored a scintillating hundred against West Indies. It was his second century of the tournament. The batsman has hit 279 runs at an average of 93.00. Afghanistan bowling attack should be vary of Root.
Afghanistan will be looking towards its inspirational 20-year-old spinner to deliver a match winning performance. Khan holds the record of fastest 100 wickets in ODIs. With Afghanistan's batting collapsing, Khan could be expected to contribute with the bat too. Khan is more than a handy batsman lower down the order.
Betting Odds (bet365)
Other odds on the match can be checked on Oddschecker.
England are too strong a side for Afghanistan. As the betting odds suggest, England are a sure shot favorite to win this encounter.(With inputs from PTI)The Great Diwali Discount!
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