T20I world cup 2016 ninth match will be played between AFG v ZIM today at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur (India). Both teams played two matches each of them and won both of them yet. Today’s match will be their third match. A week hasn’t even passed yet in the World Twenty/20, but a final is already in the offing. Well, a finale of sorts.
Zimbabwe and Afghanistan face each other in a shootout for a place in the main draw, after two wins each. The Full Member, though, isn’t the favorite. Afghanistan is ranked ninth, two places above Zimbabwe, and hold the advantage. Zimbabwe has never beaten Afghanistan in T20I internationals in four attempts. Zimbabwe’s performance has been sloppy this tournament, but they scrambled to wins over Hong Kong and Scotland. Afghanistan’s wins, on the other hand, have been more emphatic.
Afghanistan has hit a rhythm with a batting line-up in which everybody has contributed, supporting a largely varied attack. Zimbabwe is still searching for theirs. Their most in-form batsman, captain Hamilton Masakadza, has been run-out in both matches and the top order hasn’t provided bright starts for the middle order to build on.
Zimbabwe’s bowling is their stronger suit, but they tend to let things drift. Zimbabwe needs to step up in all departments if they are to put it across Afghanistan. Neutral fans are likely to back Afghanistan, the darlings of global events in recent years, and a side with the potential to topple Full Members.
Pitch and conditions
The Nagpur surface seemed to slow down from Tuesday to Thursday. So if the trend continues, run-scoring will be more difficult on Saturday, although Afghanistan’s batting line-up is in form. Of more interest will be the crowd.
Tuesday’s opener had taken place in front of a sparse crowd (182 approximately) and things went bad on Thursday when some fans were locked out of the stadium because of a ticketing fiasco. Since this is the first match on a weekend, the turnout may increase. Saturday will also be a furnace in Nagpur with temperatures set to hit 40 degrees.
Zimbabwe team: 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Vusi Sibanda, 3 Richmond Mutumbami (wk), 4 Sean Williams, 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Peter Moor/Chamu Chibhabha/Malcolm Waller, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Donald Tiripano, 9 Wellington Masakadza, 10 Tinashe Panyangara, 11 Tendai Chatara
Afghanistan team: 1 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2 Noor Ali Zadran, 3 Asghar Stanikzai (capt), 4 Mohammad Nabi,5 Gulbaddin Naib, 6 Shafiqullah, 7 Dawlat Zadran, 8 Najibullah Zadran, 9 Samiullah Shemwari, 10 Rashid Khan, 11 Hamid Hassan/Amir Hamza