England team pic in ODI
England team pic in ODI (Photo Source: Twitter)

England and Afghanistan have enormous differences in terms of experience as a cricketing nation but their ambition isn’t too contrasting. While England want to win games and go on to retain the World Cup title, the Afghan players wake up every matchday hoping to emerge victorious to take one step closer to becoming a formidable side.

However, when the defending champions lock horns with Hashmatullah Shahidi’s men in the ODI World Cup 2023 on Sunday, October 15 in Delhi, the stark disparity in the number of match winners on the two sides could be a deciding factor.

Jos Buttler and Co. didn’t have the best of starts to their title defense as they were walloped by New Zealand in their opening clash. After scoring 282/9 in 50 overs, England helplessly saw the Kiwi duo of Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra pulverising their bowling attack to win the game with 13.4 overs and nine wickets to spare.

After the nightmarish start, Buttler’s men made the trip to the picturesque Dharamsala and brought out one of their vintage batting performances against Bangladesh. A glorious century from the elegant Dawid Malan and fifties from Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root helped England post a mammoth 364/9 before dismissing the Bangla Tigers for 227. Reece Topley, who was surprisingly left out of the playing XI against New Zealand, took a four-for.

Like England, Afghanistan also began their campaign with a loss. After a decent start from the openers, Afghanistan struggled against the experienced spin-bowling pair of Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz to get bundled out for 156. The Afghan innings imploded from 112/2 to 156 all out. Bangladesh needed no second invitation to chase down the paltry target, as they won by six wickets with 92 deliveries in the bank.

Things went from bad to worse for Afghanistan in their next game against hosts India. Hashmatullah led from the front with a solid knock of 80 off 88 balls, and young Azmatullah Omarzai also played a good hand, registering his second ODI fifty. The much-improved batting effort yielded 272 runs in the 50 overs for Afghanistan. However, they met a merciless Rohit Sharma, who started hitting boundaries for fun en route to a record-breaking seventh ODI World Cup century. India made a mockery of the 273-run target, crossing the finishing line with eight wickets in hand and 15 overs left.

England will feel that they are the overwhelming favourites to win this game. In 2019, Eoin Morgan’s iconic century annihilated Afghanistan. This time, the contest could be much more even. However, the experienced players in the Afghanistan line-up will have to inspire the youngsters in the team and come out to the field without the baggage of the two previous losses.

Check Updated: ICC World Cup 2023 Points Table

ENG vs AFG Pitch and Conditions

The relaid surfaces at the Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium have been excellent for batting in the ODI World Cup 2023. South Africa and Sri Lanka played in a game that saw an aggregate of 754 runs. The match between India and Afghanistan was played on a different surface, but that also played like a dream for the batters. The English batters will be licking their lips at the prospect of scoring some big runs in their first game at this venue in the ongoing World Cup. Afghanistan will have to learn quickly from their drubbing against India and come up with better bowling plans. The weather forecast isn’t concerning. Temperatures will range between 34-28 degrees Celsius.

ENG vs AFG Probable Playing XI for ODI World Cup 2023, Match 13

England (ENG)

Ben Stokes might miss his third straight game in the ODI World Cup as he is still recovering from a hip injury. Chris Woakes was an absentee at England’s practice session on Friday as he is recovering from illness. If he doesn’t get fit in time, David Willey might replace him in the playing XI. England dropped Moeen Ali to bring in Reece Topley, and the move worked wonders. The tall left-arm seamer will no doubt retain his position and it seems that Moeen will have to stay on the bench once again.

Probable XI: Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler (C & WK), Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes/David Willey, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley

Afghanistan (AFG)

Things might not be working out smoothly for Afghanistan as of now but they are playing their best XI. The other players on the bench have a combined experience of 27 international games, and unless someone gets a last-minute niggle, it doesn’t seem that any changes will be made.

Probable XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (C), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai/Noor Ahmad, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi

ENG vs AFG Head-to-Head Records in ODIs

Matches Played 2
England Won 2
Afghanistan Won 0
First Played 13-Mar-2015
Last Played 18-Jun-2019

ENG vs AFG Broadcast Details:

Date Sunday, October 15
Timing 02:00 PM (IST)
Live Streaming Disney+ Hotstar app and website
Live Broadcast Star Sports Network

#ODI #World #Cup #Match #England #Afghanistan #Match #Preview

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