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ICC World Cup: India to face Afghanistan in New Delhi

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In the ICC cricket World Cup, India will take on Afghanistan at Arun Jaitley Stadium, in New Delhi today, October 11. Yesterday,  In the second match of the day, Pakistan kept their winning streak intact against Sri Lanka in the World Cup.

On a placid track,  the Lankan posted 344 on the board, In reply, Pakistan managed to scale the target with six wickets in hand. Abdullah Shafique batted fluently at the top order and scored 113 while Rizwan got into the groove after a scratchy starting.

In the seventh league stage match of the day defending champion England defeated Bangladesh by 137 runs in Dharmsala. Chasing a target of 365 runs, Bangladesh were bowled out for 227 in 48.2 overs. Earlier, put into bat, England posted 364 for 9 in the stipulated 50 overs. 

“Tired! I won’t lie,” KL Rahul remarked the morning after India’s sapping start to the World Cup. The keeper-bat was chatting to Virat Kohli in an informal setting for bcci.tv, the pair recollecting events from their backs-to-the-wall rescue act against Australia. There’s only so much time for reflection in a 10-team round-robin league phase and 24 hours later, India find themselves on the other side of the Vindhyas, preparing to double down on the happy high of a tough win.

On paper it would seem like Afghanistan could offer just the kind of tempered re-centering Rohit Sharma will want for his team between the challenging start in Chennai and the emotionally-charged weekend waiting on the other side. This is not a slight on Hashmatullah Shahidi’s men or an assertion that they cannot uppend the established order. More importantly, the cold truth is that this game was worth exactly the same number of points as the previous and the next one.

Even in the longer 50-over format, which can stretch the gulf between two sides with disparate talent pools and allow enough time for the cream to eventually rise to the top, Afghanistan are not a team to be taken lightly. They made it to this tournament without needing a qualifier, won a bilateral series in Bangladesh — where India have lost on each of their last two visits — and were, perhaps, a proper understanding of NRR rules away from replacing eventual finalists Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup Super Four.

They have, however, not been the same in big tournament play. It hasn’t helped that their first two ODI World Cups have come in Australia and England, conditions less suited to their spin-centric style. However, when the schedule for this tournament was drawn up, Hashmatullah Shahidi will likely have cast an opportunistic eye on this fixture in Delhi with potential for Afghanistan’s long-due seminal World Cup moment. There may be a poetic parallel to it too.

India themselves got their second World Cup match win in their third tournament against the alpha of that era and never looked back. In that sense, Afghanistan may even be a little ahead of the curve. They came very close four years ago to tripping up India on a sluggish wicket in Southampton. But for them to draw a line under their World Cup inadequacies and go one better this time around, they’ll have to come up with something far better than the first impression they served up last week.


India Squad: Rohit Sharma(c), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Suryakumar Yadav, Shardul Thakur

Afghanistan Squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi(c), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Ikram Alikhil, Abdul Rahman, Riaz Hassan, Noor Ahmad

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