After falling short of 12 runs in their first match against Sri Lanka, Pakistan would certainly be itching to get hands on the first points against Afghanistan, who is making their debut with this edition of Asia Cup 2014. Afghanistan has been included in the 12th Asia Cup 2014 Edition after they qualified for the World Cup taking place next year. They would like to prove their selection and worth in this tournament and in general.
Talking about the Afghanistan team first, they might be new in terms of their experience at the international level but this exciting bunches of players lack no depth in talent. And Pakistan might not want to take chance against their gritty neighbours who are quite familiar with the playing conditions in Bangladesh courtesy their participation in various tournaments including Bangladesh Premier League.
Afghanistan team led by their spirited captain Mohammad Nabi believes in his side is up for challenge and would like to cash on their sides knowledge at playing these conditions before.Wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad is crucial to the team’s side is an experienced campaigner. They would look to crush their opponents who are coming into their second match with a defeat in their kitty.
As for their opponents Pakistan should leave the frustrating defeat behind in order to make their stay longer in the tournament. Fatullah ground does not have much for the pace attack but the team would expect a fiery spell like that of Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga in the first match from their rising speedster Junaid Khan. The expectations would be high from spinner Saeed Ajmal on this spinner friendly track.
Their batting department in this temperamental side needs reliability than anything else. Umar Akmal looked impressive with 74 runs off 72 balls show before giving it up against Sri Lanka. For the records every time their skipper Misbah-ul-Haq have scored a half century in their last seven matches, Pakistan have went on to lose those matches. He scored four half centuries out of seven matches.
One more slip up by Pakistan, and they could be relinquishing at the bottom of the points table. The mighty defending champions would definitely not wish for that situation as going further in the tournament, tougher opponents in form of India wait.
Both the teams are talented, what would count in the match is who’s got nerves of steel – temperamental Pakistan side or the gritty Afghanistan team?
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal(wk), Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Talha.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (captain), Naowroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Zadran, Fazal Niazai, Hamid Hassan, Hamza Hotak, Karim Sadiq, Mirwaiz Ashraf, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Samiullah Shenwari, Shapoor Zadran.
Match begins at 1330 IST.