AFG vs PAK team news

Rashid Khan has been off-colour, despite his high billing. The legspinner has averaged 78.5 with four wickets in six bowling innings so far. In his ODI career, he averages under 18 and he was meant to be a key campaigner for Afghanistan this tournament. But ever since the assault he suffered against England, conceding more runs than any bowler ever has at a World Cup, he appears to have lost confidence. At Leeds, the conditions seem unfavourable for spinners, as they average 45.7 with an economy of 5.4 in the last five completed ODIs at the venue. Can Rashid overcome?

Team news

Pakistan wouldn't want to break up their winning combination, so an unchanged team is expected.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Haris Sohail, 6 Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Shadab Khan, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Wahab Riaz, 11 Shaheen Afridi
Afghanistan have tried almost every possible combination, with 16 players used. One change here and there in the batting or bowling hasn't made a significant difference; they dropped Aftab Alam to recall Dawat Zardan in the last game against Bangladesh, but the bowler conceded 64 in nine overs for one wicket. Samiullah Shinwari in place of Hazratullah Zazai made a difference, as the batsman scored a useful 49 at No. 6 to offer much needed resistance. They are most likely to take on Pakistan unchanged from their previous outing in Southampton.
Afghanistan (probable): 1 Gulbadin Naib (capt), 2 Rahmat Shah, 3 Hashmatullah Shahidi, 4 Asghar Afghan, 5 Samiullah Shinwari, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Najibullah Zadran, 8 Ikram Alikhil (wk), 9 Rashid Khan, 10 Dawlat Zadran, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
  • Mohammad Hafeez's demotion from No. 4 to 6 may create a difference if Haris Sohail is promoted to No. 4 to bat alongside Babar Azam. Besides, Hafeez is effective as an improvisor and, since 2017, averages 64.67 with a strike rate of 137.5 between overs 41-50. Pakistan need an assured presence in the death overs to push their total beyond par to complement their bowlers, so the switch could be a win-win.

Pitch and conditions

It's expected to be the hottest day of the year, with the temperature exceeding 30 C. The pitch is expected to be slow, but recent games here have had fast bowlers achieve success, which should play into Pakistan's hands.

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