Afghanistan has qualified for a straight entry into the Super 12 Group of the ICC T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia from October 16 to November 13, 2022.
Afghanistan’s cricket squad has joined Australia, New Zealand, India, England, Pakistan, South Africa, and Bangladesh in the coveted T20 event, which is famed for its action-packed performances and close contests.
This is significant since other teams in Round 1 include the two-time champion West Indies and a quality squad like Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka and the West Indies will have to compete in qualifiers, as will Namibia and Scotland. At the same time, four additional teams will be chosen to compete in World Cup tournaments in Oman in February 2022 and Zimbabwe in July 2022.
According to the ICC’s recently released schedule, Afghanistan’s first encounter will be against England on October 22, a day before the much-anticipated India-Pakistan clash.
Afghanistan’s performance in these five matches will determine its fate in the tournament. It is predicted that the team will need to win games against experienced teams such as England, New Zealand, and Australia if they advance to the semifinals or finals and win the tournament.
Afghanistan holds the global record for the greatest ever T20I score of 278/3 against Ireland in Dehradun in February 2019.
The squad is ranked seventh in the ICC T20 Rankings as of January 2022, with 17 matches, 3,951 points, and 232.
Afghanistan has been playing home matches in India due to an unstable political environment at home, which is frequently in the news. For example, after gaining test status in June 2018, Afghanistan Cricket Federation proposed changing the home ground from Dehradun to Kabul.
The BCCI approved the application in August 2019, allocating Ekana Stadium in Lucknow as the home field for the Afghanistan international cricket team.
The Afghanistan team for the T20 World Cup is anticipated to continue playing risky cricket following their recent results.
Likely Squad of Afghanistan for the T20 Mega Event
The expected squad for the T20 World Cup for Afghanistan is likely to be as follows:
- Mohammad Nabi (C)
- Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk)
- Mohammad Shahzad (wk)
- Usman Ghani
- Hazratullah Zazai
- Gulbadin Naib
- Hashmatullah Shahidi
- Karim Janat
- Hamid Hassan
- Rashid Khan
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman
- Najibullah Zadran
- Naveen Ul Haq
- Fareed Ahmad
The squad indicated above may see a few changes based on the team’s recent form, fitness, and other adjustments. A more finalized team will be announced closer to the competition date.
Performance in the past T20 World Cups
In 2010, the Afghanistan Cricket Team made its T20 World Cup debut. Since then, they have participated regularly in the following five tournaments held in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2021. Over time, the team’s performance has improved.
The squad reached the Super 10 stage in 2016 after losing in the Group Stage of the first three tournaments. It also advanced straight to the Super 12 round of the 2021 competition, finishing fourth in Group B with two victories out of the five games.
With its courageous batting order and potent bowling lineup, the Afghanistan side is predicted to continue playing fearless cricket in the T20 World Cup.
Likely predictions for the 2022 T20 World Cup
The following are some expectations for the Afghanistan T20 World Cup team:
- During the 2022 T20 World Cup, it is anticipated that Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will continue to dazzle against top-tier cricket sides.
- To boost Afghanistan’s performance in the 2022 T20 World Cup, the explosive top order of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, and Mohammad Shahzad is expected to play their natural game in the five planned matches.
- Mohammad Nabi will continue to serve as the team’s captain for the T20 World Cup and as the team’s shield anchor, practical all-rounder, middle-order batter, and third option for spin bowling.
In the 2022 edition, Afghanistan has the potential to provide a massive shock to a few seasoned teams.
With an explosive batting lineup, fantastic spin bowling options, and all-around solid players, it is too soon to rule Afghanistan out of the competition.