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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Afghanistan v Netherlands: Preview, expected line-ups and prediction

The State of Play

Afghanistan have been the surprise package of the World Cup. Their spin-heavy attack and dependable batting have been hugely impressive, putting to shame other nations with greater resources.
They go into Friday’s contest with the Netherlands still in with an outside chance of making the semi-finals, although they must win each of their remaining three games and hope results elsewhere go their way.

The Netherlands’ semi-final qualification hopes are over after two wins from six games but they still have plenty to play for with the news that the top eight teams at the World Cup will automatically qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy. The exposure, not to mention the revenue streams generated from that, make it a priority for Dutch cricket.

Team News

Afghanistan will be looking to build on the brilliant seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Monday and, barring any late injuries, will name the same line-up.

The same applies to the Netherlands, who proved far too strong for Bangladesh on Saturday.

Expected line-ups

Afghanistan: Gurbaz, Zadran, Shah, Hashmatullah (c), Omarzai, Alikhil (wk), Nabi, Khan, Mujeeb, Naveen, Farooqi

Netherlands: Singh, O’Dowd, Barresi, Ackermann, Edwards (c, wk), De Leede, Engelbrecht, Van Beek, Ahmad, Dutt, Van Meekeren

What they said

Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi on the influence of coach Jonathan Trott.
“Coaches are always positive, we worked very hard before the World Cup. Also, right now all coaching and management staff are working hard and giving us confidence.
“Before the Pakistan game, Trott told me one word that changed my mindset.
“As a captain, you should lead from the front foot so I am trying my best. I am very happy that I finished the game and I will try to maintain that in upcoming games.

Roland Lefebvre, the KNCB’s high-performance manager, speaking to Cricinfo about the news that a top-eight spot qualifies the team for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
“We weren’t aware. I just read the articles, and the ICC said it goes back to 2021 when it was decided. It would have been nice for them to remind the world of what the situation was and the significance of this tournament. But for us, we’re still in line for the top eight.
“I relayed that back to the team, who are now aware. We will play with the same intensity, spirit, dedication and desire as in the previous six matches – but of course, the significance is huge.”

Prediction

The Netherlands batters have at times struggled with the conditions in India and Afghanistan’s spinners should give them more headaches.
Expect Afghanistan to edge this before taking on heavyweights Australia and South Africa.

Check out our other sports stories here:
https://www.businesslancashire.co.uk/category/sport/

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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