The World Cup has now reached a crucial juncture where each match holds the key to determining the qualification scenarios. With four teams fighting for the remaining two spots, the competition has intensified, and the stakes are higher than ever.
The upcoming encounter will also be between two such teams. Australia and Afghanistan lock horns at the iconic Wankhede Stadium on the 6th of November 2023. The history of their previous encounters in ODIs tells a one-sided story, with the Aussies winning three out of three times, these two clashed.
While Australia is undoubtedly the stronger side, cricket fans around the world are eagerly anticipating this clash. Afghanistan’s ability to spring surprises and their determination to break their losing streak against Australia makes this match a must-watch.
After losing the two initial encounters, Australia has staged a remarkable comeback, winning five consecutive matches, which has sent a strong message to the cricketing world: never underestimate the Aussies in ICC tournaments.
Australia’s last two encounters were nail-biting clashes against arch-rivals New Zealand and England. These matches went down to the wire and the Aussies emerged victorious in both, showcasing their ability to thrive under pressure.
Throughout the tournament, it’s their openers who led the charge, but in the clash against England, the middle-order arrived at the party. Smith and Labuschagne posted a crucial partnership after early wickets. Zampa played a fiery cameo at the end and was unplayable with the ball.
Afghanistan is the team to talk about in the ICC World Cup 2023. From not winning a single match in the 2019 edition to challenging the likes of Australia and New Zealand for a semi-final spot in this one, the Afghanis have come a long way. Their transformation in such a short span of time is more than impressive.
One of Afghanistan’s standout qualities in this tournament has been their ability to chase down targets effectively. They have won their last three matches by comfortably chasing totals against strong opponents like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands.
Afghanistan’s strength undoubtedly lies in their middle-order batsmen. Players like Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, and Azmatullah Omarzai have consistently performed well, providing much-needed stability to the Afghan batting lineup. The middle order will once again be the key in this upcoming clash.
Probable Playing XI
Australia: David Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins (c), Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hasmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmed, Fazal Haq Farooqi
The Wankhede Stadium, known for its traditional flat and hard surface, has a reputation for providing consistent bounce and carry. Batsmen find it a paradise, with the opportunity to play their strokes freely. The relatively short boundaries further favour the batting side, making it a dream venue for them.
In the three World Cup matches held at this venue, we’ve witnessed the posting of three 350+ totals. These monumental scores underline the pitch’s tendency to favour the team batting first, emphasizing the importance of setting a challenging target to ensure success.
While the pitch is batting-friendly, it also offers good assistance to the seam bowlers, with 42 out of 49 wickets in matches held here being taken by pace bowlers. Bowlers like Siraj, Shami, and Jansen have benefitted greatly, especially in the early overs. Overall the pitch offers a fair chance for both batsmen and bowlers to excel.
Pitch Stats since 2011:
- Total Matches Played – 11
- Matches Won Batting First – 6
- Matches Won Batting Second – 5
- Average First Innings Score – 309
- Average Runs Per Over – 5.88
Players To Watch Out For
Warner has undoubtedly established himself as one of the greatest batters in the history of the World Cup. With a tally of 1420 runs in 25 matches at an impressive strike rate of 103, and an incredible six centuries to his name, Warner’s World Cup credentials speaks volume about his ability to shine at the grandest stage.
The batting-friendly pitch at Wankhede Stadium sets the perfect stage for Warner to showcase his prowess once again. In his previous outing at this venue in 2020, he dismantled the Indian bowling attack with a blistering 128 off just 112 balls, leading Australia to victory.
Warner holds a unique record when it comes to facing Afghanistan. In both of the two previous encounters between Australia and Afghanistan, he scored runs and was awarded the Man of the Match.
A remarkable turnaround marked Zampa’s journey in this World Cup. After encountering challenging spells against India and South Africa in the initial matches, he rebounded strongly and now stands as the leading wicket-taker of this World Cup with 19 wickets in 7 matches.
In the last 5 matches, he has taken three 4-wicket hauls and two 3-wicket hauls and all of these resulted in Australia’s victories. This pattern highlights Australia’s dependency on him to deliver crucial breakthroughs and secure victories.
Zampa also displayed his batting ability in the recent match against England. His quickfire 29 off 19 balls at the end of the innings led Australia to a competitive total. Furthermore, when he returned to bowl, he was unplayable for the English batters.
Gurbaz has been a key player for Afghanistan in the ICC World Cup 2023, with 234 runs to his name in 7 matches at a strike rate of 99. Gurbaz’s explosive fifties against England and Pakistan were game-changers, demonstrating his ability to provide powerful starts.
His quick scoring not only sets the tone but also puts pressure on the opposition bowlers. This ability to get his side off to a flying start is invaluable, giving Afghanistan the ascendancy in the match.
In a batting-friendly venue like the Wankhede Stadium, Gurbaz’s capacity to score rapidly becomes even more crucial. If he gets going early, he can trouble the Australian bowlers and create a significant impact on the outcome of the match.
AUS vs AFG Dream11 Team for Match 39 of 2023 WC
Note: This is not our final Dream11 Team as we are not aware of the Toss Result/Final Playing XI of both teams at this moment.
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