India’s progress at the World Cup has been an ascending march so far. They have put on complete performances in each of their three completed games. While the top-order has consistently given good starts, the bowlers, aided by some good fielding, have backed it up with disciplined performance. The team management, however, will be worried over their key players getting injured.
Afghanistan have been unable to recreate the magic they did in the ICC Men’s World Cup Qualifiers and Asia Cup last year, having faced five defeats in as many completed games so far. Inconsistent bowling and dropped chances in the field cost them dearly against England. Their batsmen, having batted for the full 50-overs at Old Trafford, will have to do so again, in order to pose any challenge to a strong Indian side.
Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib believes they need regular exposure against top teams before they can compete at the World Cup.
“When we play associate teams like Scotland, we’re doing well. But we need to improve our game, so we should play strong teams like India, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan,” Naib said at Hampshire Bowl on Friday. “We should play a lot of series with the top five ranked teams. If we play with them, we’d improve.
“Of course we’d be losing or struggling initially, but one day Afghanistan will be different. It will be good for us if we play them. It would be a great experience for us.”
Nabi also took heart from their improved batting performance against Morgan’s men.
“If you look at our performance against England, who are a good side and one of the favourites to win the World Cup, we did well. I think we batted well in the match. We were focusing on batting 50 overs and put a better total and we played 50 overs.”
Nabi also admitted that India, unbeaten in the tournament so far, would be a tough test for his team.
Ravindra Jadeja has scalped seven wickets -- the most by any bowler among the two sides’ current squads -- in the two matches he played against Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi scored 70 runs in the two matches he played against India. This is the highest by any player on the two sides’ current squad.