Sunday, July 21, 2024

Kiwis face Afghan test; Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh


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Providence (Guyana), June 7: New Zealand will have no room for complacency when they begin the T20 World Cup campaign against a gutsy Afghanistan side full of IPL stars in a Group C fixture here on Saturday.
New Zealand find themselves in the a difficult group with two-time champions West Indies and Afghanistan also vying for the the top two spots.
With rain restricting their training sessions, New Zealand’s preparation for the marquee event have been less than ideal.
Additionally, they take on Afghanistan and West Indies in their opening two games.
Come Saturday, Kane Williamson and Co. will have to get the better of a side that is not only warmed up but has also registered a morale-boosting win and know the conditions here well.
However, New Zealand’s strength in ICC events has been their adaptability, they always manage to turn up, reaching the latter stages, And with a wealth of experience as well as an exuberance of youth in the likes of Finn Allen and Rachin Ravindra in the side, they will be expected to get past the Afghans.
On paper, New Zealand have all bases covered, they have depth in batting and variety in bowling. Trent Boult will look dominate with the new ball, with Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee complementing him.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner has a phenomenal record in the Caribbean, averaging under 17 with the ball at an economy of 5.5 ad he will be look to outsmart the Afghans.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan secured a thumping victory over Uganda in their opener. If the opening duo of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran provided the team a great start with the bat, pacers Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq, and skipper Rashid Khan exhibited exceptional prowess with the ball.
But apart form Gurbaz and Zadran none of the other batters manage to stick around and against a formidable Kiwi side, they will need to do better.
Sri Lanka-Bangladesh renew rivalry
In Dallas, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will renew their rivalry in a bid to improve their chances to reach the Super Eights.
Group D or the ‘Group of Death’ features three full members – South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh — the Netherlands, who are capable of pulling of upset wins and Nepal. and wins and margin of victories could play a vital role towards the end of the group stage. Sri Lanka will have to bounce back from their crushing defeat to South Africa in their opener. Their batters will be expected to show better shot selection and greater match awareness.
The bowlers did well while defending 77 against South Africa and the Islanders would fancy their chances against an out of form Bangladesh side.
Bangladesh have struggled in the shortest format this year. The have had series losses against Sri Lanka and USA. They were handed a comprehensive defeat by India in their warm up game as well. (PTI)


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