Live Cricket Streaming: India vs Afghanistan - T20 World Cup 2012
Time for the 3rd match of the tournament. We've not had any upsets yet; Sri Lanka thrashed Zimbabwe yesterday while Australia did the same to Ireland in the first game today. Can Afghanistan change the trend? They're taking on India, who enter every tournament as favourites.
Afghanistan have won the toss and elected to field.
MS Dhoni: 'It does not matter who we are playing, we will have to play well. The pitch is hard and it should stay true. Harbhajan is not playing this game.'
Nawroz Mangal: 'We'll bowl first. It is a big match today. Hope we do well.'
Irfan Pathan: 'In practice matches you cannot concentrate much on winning or losing. It is about what you get out of the game. My strength is good, rhythm is good. Happy the way it's going. We've seen some videos of the Afghanistan players but they are still very dangerous because they are unknown.'
What will be India's combination? They played 5 bowlers in the warm up game against Pakistan and still couldn't defend a mammoth total. Will they stick to the 7 batsmen strategy, or will they go in with an extra bowler? Tough call for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Fletcher...
The Afghanistan players seem pumped up. A big occasion this for all of them.
Afghanistan (Playing XI): Karim Sadiq, Asghar Stanikzai, Mohammad Shahzad(w), Nawroz Mangal(c), Mohammad Nabi, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Gulbodin Naib, Samiullah Shenwari, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Najibullah Zadran
India (Playing XI): Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Zaheer Khan
Preview by Nikhil
MS Dhoni and his boys start their campaign against a confident Afghanistan side who have made giant strides and now have the belief to challenge the very best. India would in all probability stick to their 7 batsmen/ 4 bowler strategy. As with every major tournament, the devoted, passionate and emotional Indian fan would settle for nothing less than the trophy.
India's history in the tournament stretches across the 2 extremes. They made an instant impact in the inaugural edition with some brilliant game-play to lift the trophy. The next two editions, however, saw India make quick exits. In 2009, India were skittled out in the 2nd round failing to win even 1 game in their group. In 2010 too, India were part of pretty much the same story as the ear before, they failed to register even a single win in the 2nd round and returned home empty handed.
The fact that the tournament is being held in Sri Lanka puts India in a superb position to win. The Indian team are almost completely at home in Sri Lankan conditions and will be keen to use that to their advantage. India's inclination to spin over pace could also be exploited to the hilt in the Island nation. The 2007 Champions will be disappointed if they do not at least reach the semis, if not go all the way.
India's batting line up is enough to send shivers down all the teams and the team will rely on their batters contributing heavily in, generally, batting friendly conditions. The batting order is filled to the brim with T20 specialists and if that doesn't hold them in good stead, the dizzying heights Virat Kohli has reached with his awe-inspiring form will give the team much hope and confidence.
Another advantage India holds is the conditions they are playing in. Sri Lankan conditions are closest to what India will get back at home and they will be keen to use it.
On paper, it looks as if India do not have any major concerns, but they will be worried about their pacers having a bad day, which would leave the spinners with too much to do. Zaheer Khan spearheads the attack brilliant for India, but MS Dhoni will be wary of India's weakness in plugging the run-flow during the slog overs. Even in the warm-up games, India struggled to stifle the run flow in the end overs and Dhoni's men will have to address the concerns if they are to perform to the lofty expectations.
India will also fervently hope for their openers to strike form soon. Both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have struggled for consistency over the past year and India will hope they come out all guns blazing in the WC.
Afghanistan have played only one T20 WC before this and their performance wasn't much to write home about. They were clubbed alongside India and South Africa and lost both their matches in comprehensive fashion. Hamid Hasan was their star performer with 4 wickets in total and 28 runs to his name in the tournament.
Just for the joy of seeing a cricketing minnow give the big boys a run for their money. Afghanistan have their work cut out in the tournament having been drawn alongside two tough teams, but if T20 cricket has taught us one thing, it is that the weaker team cannot be taken for granted and that there are many surprises. Afghanistan will hope their opponents do just that and they will be keen on capitalizing.
Their main strength lies in their bowling. Their pacers Hamid Hasan, Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran have already proved to be a handful while their spinners too have shown that they can compete at the top level.
Their main weakness will be their lack of experience in playing big teams. There will also be a huge gulf in class and quality when they taken on the bigger sides.
Players to watch
Virat Kohli: The Delhi youngster has set the stage alight with some eye-catching batting in the last year or so and he has shown that he performs exceptionally when something special is expected off him. He had a World Cup (50 overs) to remember last year and will be doubly eager to add another glittering trophy to his ever growing cabinet.
Hamid Hassan: The Afghan pacer has already made people sit up and take notice with his ability to make the ball swing. He is one of the best bowlers among the associate nations and will be keen to use this tournament to show his worth and win admirers around the world.