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A shocking defeat to Sri Lanka last time out came off the back of a poor loss to arch rivals Pakistan in the previous match – it feels like we are driving along the first rocky road of Rohit Sharma’s tenure as captain of his country.
Despite the recent defeats, India are obvious favourites for this clash. They have a team brimming with superstars, and Virat Kohli appears to be back in form (despite his duck against Sri Lanka) – that spells danger for any opponent!
The odds are not too enticing, but the only way we can envisage a shock Afghanistan victory is if they win the toss and insert Rohit Sharma and his men into bat, dismiss them for a lowly total, and then chase it home. Even then, we can’t trust the strength of an inconsistent, though volatile, Afghanistan batting line up.
Much like we recommended for our Pakistan vs Afghanistan betting predictions, the best bet may be to wait for India to slip up early and watch the price drift.
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It all started so well for India – a brilliant tournament-opening win over Pakistan was followed by a dominant triumph over Hong Kong to start their campaign with back-to-back victories.
Since then, it’s gone south. They were surprisingly meek in letting a sizeable in-game advantage slip against Pakistan in the first Super 4s game, before a shocking defeat to the Lions all-but-ended their hopes.
Progression is nigh-on impossible now, but all eyes are on skipper Rohit Sharma and the leadership team. How will they react to the disappointment of missing out on another final? Will the Afghanistan game see experimental changes as they try to sort out the squad in time for the Twenty20 World Cup?
Virat Kohli also suffered a setback in his return to form – after hitting 154 runs from three innings, he was dismissed for a duck by Loku Marakkalage.
The timings of the defeats are less than ideal for India as they try to build some momentum ahead of the World Cup.
After starting out like a house on fire, Afghanistan have been ripping up opposing batsmen with a lovely mix of accurate pace bowling and stunning spin.
However, concern remains around their batting line-up. Their first two victories against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were achieved when chasing. Batting first against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the previous two games, they looked less dangerous.
There are many multiples of match circumstances in which you can see India winning – but only one for Afghanistan. They need early wickets when defending a lead.
Afghanistan’s Likely XI
Zazai, Gurbaz, I Zadran, N Zadran, Janta, Nabi, Khan, Shinwari, Ul Haq, Rahman, Farooqi.
India vs Afghanistan Head-to-Head
The men in green are 2-0 up on the India vs Afghanistan head-to-head. Their first win was back in 2014, their second a nail-biting chase at last year’s World Cup, where only some very late six-hitting got Pakistan over the line in a match they could easily have lost.
Venue & Conditions
Afghanistan are having to make the 30 minute drive down the road from the Sharjah to the Dubai International Cricket stadium – hardly the most taxing journey, but it’s not ideal with less than 24 hours of match preparation.
Only one of the last 11 matches at this venue has been won by the team batting first – and in that instance, it was India vs Hong Kong.