Afghanistan v Scotland
Monday 25 October 15.00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Afghanistan well set
Afghanistan warmed up very nicely indeed with a crushing victory over West Indies. Still, that result may prove to say more about their opponents than them.
They have a decision to make about who their pair in the opening slot. Hazratullah Zazai, who promises much but rarely delivers when it really counts, the destructive Rahmanullah Gurbaz or Mohammad Shahzad?
In the middle-order we expect Ashgar Afghan to be left out for Karim Janat. It's choc-full of No 8 really with Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran and Gulbadin Naib similar sorts.
With the ball they are spin heavy with Rashid Khan ably supported by Mujeeb-ur-Rahman. They key man could be death bowler Naveen-ul-Haq.
Possible XI Shahazad, Zazai, Gurbaz, Janat, Nabi, Zadran, Naib, Rashid, Fareed, Mujeeb, Naveen
Scotland in form
The Scots are buzzing after a 100% record in the qualifying group. Their experience of UAE conditions stood them in good stead and they have not looked back since upsetting Bangladesh in the opener.
Brad Wheal and Josh Davey have proved an effective - and potent - pace partnership while their three spinners - Chris Greaves, Michael Leask and Matt Watt = have been tight.
They could do with a score from the much-hyped George Munsey. And they stand or fall in this game in how they counter the spin threat.
Probable XI Munsey, Coetzer, Cross, Berrington, McLeod, Greaves, Leask, Watt, Davey, Sharif, Wheal
Sharjah is tricky for the batters. The Netherlands were shot out for 144. Ireland were kept to 125 by Namibia. It is in keeping with what we saw in the IPL when the first-innings average was just 137. There was also a 70% toss bias for the chaser so ignore that at your peril. We should be able to go under first-innings runs at the 139.5 mark.
Scots in with a shout
Scotland have lost every encounter (six) they have played against Afghanistan and although the last one of those was in 2016, eight Scots survive. Do the AFghhans have a psychological grip?
The Scots are significant outsiders at 3.8014/5. They will have no fear. And nor should we about taking a risk. But only if they chase. A wet ball because of the dew can reduce the gulf.
It would be wrong to make out Scotland would world beaters here. But they are efficient and gutsy. Going after target with heavy dew should allay any fears they have about Rashid and Mujeeb running through them.
Rashid Khan is 7/1 for man of the match but you don't really want to be betting that with him bowling under lights with a wet ball. Team-mate Naveen is a fancy for top bowler because he gets the chance to take cheap wickets at the death. He has a superior strike rate to Rashid who is mighty short at 6/4. Naveen is 10/3.
Zazai and Munsey have both been price boosted respectively for top Afghan and Scots bat at 3/1 and 10/3. For the Scots we note the 16s available about another Greaves special.
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