Cricket

2019 Cricket World Cup: England has enough batting reserve

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.

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.   | Photo Credit: Mike Hewitt

The main concern will be batting as Afghanistan are yet to play out 40-plus overs in any of their games.

With Jason Roy ruled out, England may have to re-jig its batting order when it squares off against Afghanistan in a World Cup fixture at the Old Trafford on Tuesday.

While Roy will be out of action for the next few games with a hamstring injury, captain Eoin Morgan — who had a sore back in the last fixture — hopes to be available for the clash, even though it would all depend on how he ‘pulls up’. The home team, however, will hand a World Cup debut to James Vince and plans to see him as the opener.

In its previous outing against the West Indies, England showed its depth in batting with Johnny Bairstow and Joe Root — who hammered a ton — stitching a solid opening partnership, and Chris Woakes chipping in with a steady knock of 40 at No.3. And with chances of Moeen Ali coming in against an Afghanistan side, which has looked weak so far, England has enough batting in reserve.

Disappoint Afghans

Though it came into the tournament with a lot of promise, Afghanistan has had quite a disappointing campaign so far — losing all four of its games — and against a higher-ranked England, the going could get tougher for the Gulbadin Naib-led side. 

For the team from Asia, which is featuring in its second World Cup, nothing has really gone its way. The batsmen have failed to settle in, while its spin weapons — Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran — have looked off-colour. Considered a game changer in the shortest format, expectations were riding high on Rashid, but the 19-year-old hasn’t had a memorable campaign so far, bagging only three wickets. With most of its players featuring in their first World Cup, inexperience is reflecting on their performances and that’s certainly a worry.

But Tuesday’s fixture will be played on the same surface used by India and Pakistan on Sunday, which favoured the Indian spinners, and Afghanistan will be hoping to put pressure on the England batting line-up. England captain Morgan admitted that spin is ‘probably Afghanistan’s strongest component as a team.’

“It’s a challenge that we’re going to have to overcome. Pretty much every time we play against an Asian team, that’s the case,” Morgan said in his pre-match interaction, admitting that spin could play a key factor.

However, with the way things have gone so far for the Afghan side, things don’t look too bright!

Squads:

England: Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes,James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah (wk), Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ikram Ali Khil.

Match starts at 3pm IST.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 6:44:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/2019-cricket-world-cup-england-vs-afghanistan-match-in-manchester/article27994999.ece

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