Dark Horse of World Cup 2019:- Afghanistan made its ICC Cricket World Cup debut in 2015. In the 6 matches they played against different countries, they won only one match against Scotland. Their winning percentage was 16.66%.
Since the World Cup 2015, the team has played 60 ODIs. Out of 60 matches, the team has won 32 matches with a winning percentage of 53.33%.
Why Afghanistan Cricket team is the Dark Horse of World Cup 2019
The team’ received a lot of appreciation for their performance in Asia Cup 2018 as they defeated some big teams in the tournament. In the five matches they played, they won two against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, lost two against Pakistan and Bangladesh and one ended in a draw against India. Mohammad Shahzad was fourth on the list of highest runs scorer with 268 and Hashmatullah Shahidi was fifth on the list with 263 runs. Rashid Khan was first on the list of maximum wickets with 10 wickets in 277 balls and Mujeeb Ur Rahman was fifth on the list with 7 wickets in 268 balls.
With the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, the Afghanistan team might be the dark horse in the most awaited tournament of the year. The team begins its campaign on 1st June 2019 against Australia at Bristol County Ground, England.
Under the training of coach Phil Simmons and led by captain Gulbadin Naib, the team is a good mix of experience and youth. Let’s analyze the team’s strengths which might play a crucial role in taking the team to the finals.
Recent Performance of Afghanistan Players
The new captain Gulbadin Naib has played 52 matches since he was inducted in the team in 2011. In world cup 2015, he played only 1 match and in 54 balls, he took only one wicket. Under his captaincy, the team became a member of ICC and won last year’s World Cup Qualifier and won their first ever Test against Ireland. Naib will be captaining an international game for the first time, so he will be carrying a huge responsibility on his shoulders and is expected to bring fresh passion into the squad.
Hamid Hassan, the team’s all-rounder has played 32 matches in last 10 years. In 1518 balls, he has taken 56 wickets making his average 20.59. In the World Cup 2015, Hassan played 6 matches and in 306 balls, he took 8 wickets. He also made a total of 38 runs in 66 matches. He was out of the game for a long period due to his extended injuries and his fitness was a concern to the selectors. But he was selected because his experience could be useful for the team.
The team has just three front line spinners – Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman along with Samiullah Shinwari and Rahmat Shah as backups.
Rashid Khan will be making his World Cup debut this year. He was inducted in the team in 2015, and in the past 4 years, he has been a part of 57 ODIs. In 2833 balls, he has taken 123 wickets with an average of 15. His economy rate has been 3.91. He has also captained 4 ODIs with 25% winning percentage.
In World Cup 2015, Mohammad Nabi captained the team and took 3 wickets in 274 balls with an average 87. His economy rate was 5.72.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman has played 28 matches since he was inducted in the team in 2017. In 1536 balls, he has taken 51 wickets making his average 18.80 and economy rate 3.75.
Hazratullah Zazai has played 6 ODIs till now and has made a total of 155 runs with 67 as his highest score. He hit 10 sixes and 14 fours in total and this ability of his, has earned him a position with openers like Mohammad Shahzad and Noor Ali Zadran.
Since Shahzad was inducted in 2009, he has played 79 ODIs. His aggregate runs have been 2562 with highest 131* and his average is 33.71. Zadran was inducted along with Shahzad, and he has played 47 ODIs so far. His aggregate runs have been 1148 with highest 114 and his average is 25.51.