Tonight’s England vs Afghanistan World T20 encounter is nothing short of a David vs Goliath fight since, on paper at least, the defending champs should be able to romp home to a comfortable win against the minnows.
However, the Afghans are on a high having given India a good run for their money in their previous encounter on Wednesday. Inexperience led to the Afghans losing to India by 23 runs.
However, the war-torn country that has taken giants strides in the world of cricket by sealing a berth for this premier ICC event, have come away with a host of positives from that encounter nevertheless.
“This is a learning phase for us. From facing India and South Africa in the last World T20 to playing international matches against Australia and Pakistan, we have come a long way. We have learnt a lot,” said skipper Nowroz Mangal, on the eve of their second outing. The captain is keen to show everyone back home that “they belong to the world stage”.
The Afghan batsmen, Mohammad Nabi (17-ball 31), Karim Sadiq (26) and Mangal (22) showed a lot of courage chasing 160 against India on Wednesday. However, some sloppy fielding and dropped catches eventually cost them the match.
England, on the other hand, look to be in great shape after registering wins against Australia and Pakistan, in their two warm-up fixtures.
Alex Hales, who came into the side in place of Kevin Pietersen, appeared to have settled in well against the Aussies in the tuine-up tie. His 52 helped England beat Australia by nine runs three days ago. Youngsters — Eoin Morgan, Luke Wright and Jonathon Bairstow — also are in good form. With new captain Stuart Broad spearheading the attack, England have some good options — Steven Finn, Jos Buttler and Tim Bresnan — in the bowling department too.