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Dispirited Afghanistan meet rampaging India

Afghanistan are yet to get off the mark in the points table as they now turn their attention to the daunting task at hand against India at the Rose Bowl.

Suffering five losses on the trot in the World Cup, the closest Afghanistan came to pulling off an upset was against Sri Lanka but besides that narrow defeat, it has been a lopsided affair in all of the matches involving Gulbadin Naib's men.

To further add tribulations, the internal workings of Afghanistan cricket has been rife with politics acting as a hurdle to the growth of their team.

The latest rift between coach Phil Simmons and chief selector Dawlat Ahmadzai over the sacking of former captain Asghar Afghan reflects the friction which exists between the team and the board.

Despite the hapless position Afghanistan find themselves in, they will be seeking inspiration from their Asia Cup heroics last year, where they tied with India on the final delivery of the match

India's ascending march in the tournament is expected to continue unhindered in the clash against Afghanistan.

However, a couple of injuries to key players Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar stems their progress to an extent but the bench strength of India means they are likely to emerge unscathed, especially against a bottom-ranked side such as Afghanistan.

Still unbeaten in the World Cup so far, India are just a couple of steps away from confirming their spot in the semi-finals.

Possible changes in the Indian line-up

The Indian team management could potentially tinker with the playing XI considering their lightweight opponents.

Mohammed Shami is certain to replace Kumar in the match as the latter could manage only 16 balls in the preceding match against Pakistan before limping off the field due to a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, Vijay Shankar also suffered an injury scare in the nets whilst batting against Jasprit Bumrah but he tried to dismiss the doubt concerning his participation in the game during the press conference before the match.

India would be tempted to play Rishabh Pant, called on as a replacement for Dhawan, but it remains to be seen at whose expense will the dashing batsman come into the XI.

One of the two wrist-spinners in the side could also be handed a rest in order to give Ravindra Jadeja an opportunity in this tournament but that seems like a far-fetched idea.

Rashid Khan under the scanner

Rashid Khan had a day to forget in the previous game against England as nothing went the youngster's way.

England skipper Eoin Morgan ransacked Rashid's bowling as he created an unfortunate record of the most expensive figures in a World Cup game.

Rashid went for 110 runs in nine overs, and his overall performances in the tournament have also been below par in light of the high standards he sets for himself.

All focus is on him to come back strong after a brutal beating at Old Trafford and swiftly recover from that shocking outing.

Afghanistan captain Naib claimed ahead of the game that Rashid had already gotten over his nightmare spell against England and was preoccupied with the upcoming games.


Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ikram Ali Khil (wk)

India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav