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T20 World Cup: Group 2 preview

Rashid Khan of Afghanistan could be one of the stars of the tournament

Group 2 of the T20 World Cup Super 12 includes three of the world’s top four-ranked sides, plus a talented Afghanistan team looking to progress beyond the group stage at the short-form World Cup for the first time…

AFGHANISTAN

Result in 2016: Knocked out at Super 10 stage

PAST PERFORMANCES: Afghanistan have enjoyed a real rise in international cricket in recent times, qualifying for the group stages in 2016, being given full Test status in 2017, recording the highest T20I score in history against Ireland in 2019 (278-3) and as of 2021 are ranked eighth in the world in the shorter format. That puts them ahead of last tournament’s champions West Indies and Sri Lanka. They are no longer plucky minnows – but expectations are now, understandably, higher too.

PROSPECTS: They will back themselves to beat the two first-round qualifiers – meaning clashes with New Zealand and Pakistan will likely decide their progress. Amid the political turmoil in the country, qualifying from this group would be a genuine romantic sporting tale.

ONE TO WATCH: Skipper Mohammad Nabi and wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad, 34, will provide valuable experience but the youngsters are the ones to keep an eye on. Hazratullah Zazai hit 162 not out, including 16 sixes, in 2019 and the spin twins of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are top-class. Mujeeb only played one IPL match in 2021 but took 2-29 at an average of 14.5, while leg-spinner Rashid took 18 wickets at 20.83 with an impressive 130 dot balls.

SQUAD: Mohammad Nabi (captain), Asghar Afghan, Farid Ahmad Malik, Usman Ghani, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hamid Hassan, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Naveen ul Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai. Reserves: Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Fazalhaq Farooqi.

India openers Ishan Kishan (l) and KL Rahul (r) can be potentially explosive

India openers Ishan Kishan (l) and KL Rahul (r) can be potentially explosive

INDIA

Result in 2016: Lost to West Indies in semi-finals

PAST PERFORMANCES: Three consecutive failures to make it past the World Cup group stage was not envisaged after winning the tournament in 2007, but they finished as runner-up in 2014 and made the semi-final in 2016. They look a different beast now.

PROSPECTS: Virat Kohli will be aiming for a win, and they are well capable of it. Semi-final, at the very least, must be the target.

ONE TO WATCH: Aside from all the obvious outstanding talents (Kohli, Ashwin, Bumrah etc), Ishan Kishan is potentially explosive – and proved it in Tuesday’s warm-up win against England with 70 off 46 balls – and Suryakumar Yadav could quietly knit the batting order together, with a T20I average north of 46.

Opener KL Rahul is back in form too, after hitting the third-most runs in the IPL (626) and putting England to the sword with 51 off just 24 balls.

SQUAD: Virat Kohli (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishan Kishan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Mohammad Shami, Rohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Suryakumar Yadav. Reserves: Deepak Chahar, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel.

Pakistan vs New Zealand

October 26, 2021, 2:30pm

Live on

NEW ZEALAND

Result in 2016: Lost to England in semi-finals

PAST PERFORMANCES: A poor run of four successive World Cup group-stage exits was ended with a semi-final in 2016, but they ran into Jason Roy in stunning form. As the fourth-ranked side, they are probably favourites to nab the second spot behind India.

PROSPECTS: Four of their last five T20 series have ended in victory. West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh are no mugs either. Losing 3-2 to Bangladesh in September is not ideal, though, and the absence of superstar bowler and The Hundred’s top wicket-taker, Adam Milne, is mystifying, given Kyle Jamieson averages 70+ in T20 internationals.

Devon Conway has burst onto the scene brilliantly for New Zealand

Devon Conway has burst onto the scene brilliantly for New Zealand

ONE TO WATCH: Martin Guptill and Glenn Phillips – who struck a 46-ball T20I hundred in November – can hit a long ball but Devon Conway has burst onto the scene brilliantly and averages a hair under 60 in T20Is. Bowler Lockie Ferguson can bowl around 95mph, too, and was the quickest in this season’s IPL.

SQUAD: Kane Williamson (captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee. Reserve: Adam Milne.

Pakistan quick Shaheen Shah Afridi is a superstar in the making

Pakistan quick Shaheen Shah Afridi is a superstar in the making

PAKISTAN

Result in 2016: Knocked out at Super 10 stage

PAST PERFORMANCES: In four successive tournaments from 2007, Pakistan finished runners-up, champions, and losing semi-finalist (twice), but the 2014 and 2016 editions saw them exit disappointingly at the group stage.

PROSPECTS: Recent form is mixed – with T20 series wins against South Africa (twice), West Indies, and Zimbabwe (just) being balanced by losses against England and New Zealand. The talent is there – they are ranked #3 in the world – but the consistency, maybe not. However, they perform best when they are written off – remember the ‘cornered tigers’?

Don't miss any of the drama as the 2021 Men's T20 World Cup comes your way on Sky Sports in October and November.

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Don’t miss any of the drama as the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup comes your way on Sky Sports in October and November.

Don’t miss any of the drama as the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup comes your way on Sky Sports in October and November.

ONE TO WATCH: Babar Azam is a world-class batsman but Shaheen Shah Afridi, the 6ft 6in, 90mph fast bowler, is a superstar waiting to explode on the world stage. Players called Afridi tend to do well for Pakistan…

SQUAD: Babar Azam (captain), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Fakhar Zaman. Reserves: Usman Qadir, Shahnawaz Dahani, Khushdil Shah.

SCOTLAND

Result in 2016: Knocked out at Qualifier stage

HOW THEY FARED IN ROUND ONE: Three wins out of three saw Kyle Coetzer’s side top their group ahead of Oman, Papua New Guinea and, most impressively, Bangladesh, who they beat in their opening game to show that they are a team not to be taken lightly.

PAST PERFORMANCES: After appearing in the group stages in 2007 and 2009, failing to win a game, Scotland missed the next three World T20 tournaments before making it to the Qualifier stage in 2016. Defeats to Afghanistan and Zimbabwe ended their hopes of going any further but they did claim their first win at a global T20 event, beating Hong Kong to end their campaign on a high.

Josh Davey led the way with eight wickets for Scotland in round one

Josh Davey led the way with eight wickets for Scotland in round one

PROSPECTS: A perfect record in round one will have given that confidence and the victory over Bangladesh will have forced a few of the bigger boys to take notice. No one is expecting them to make it through to the semi-finals but if they can claim the scalp of another Test-playing nation or even cause a scare or two, they can really count this tournament as a success.

ONE TO WATCH: Somerset seamer Josh Davey was the standout with the ball during round one, claiming eight wickets at a mere 8.37 across the three matches, all while going at less than a run-a-ball. With the bat, Richie Berrington has Scotland’s only half-century so far in the tournament – a 49-ball 70 against PNG – and his ability to clear the ropes means he could do some damage.

SQUAD: Kyle Coetzer (captain), Richard Berrington, Dylan Budge, Matthew Cross, Josh Davey, Alasdair Evans, Chris Greaves, Michael Leask, Calum MacLeod, George Munsey, Safyaan Sharif, Hamza Tahir, Craig Wallace, Mark Watt, Brad Wheal. Reserves: Chris Sole, Michael Jones

NAMIBIA

Result in 2016: Did not qualify

HOW THEY FARED IN ROUND ONE: After a heavy defeat to Sri Lanka in their first game, Namibia bounced back well. They chased down 165 to beat the Netherlands and then held their nerve in a winner-takes-all clash with Ireland to complete a convincing eight-wicket win and book their place in the main draw for the first time in their history.

PROSPECTS: Head coach Pierre De Bruyn described reaching the Super 12s as a “dream come true” for his side so anything from this point on would be a bonus. A win in their first appearance among the traditional powerhouses would exceed expectations so their clash with Scotland might become their only personal World Cup final.

Namibia made history by reaching the main draw for the first time

Namibia made history by reaching the main draw for the first time

ONE TO WATCH: All-rounder David Wiese, 36, has previous international experience through playing for South Africa and has shown what he can do already in the competition, making an unbeaten 66 against Netherlands, while captain Gerhard Erasmus led from the front with a fine 53 not out in the decider against Ireland.

SQUAD: Gerhard Erasmus (captain), Stephen Baard, Karl Birkenstock. Michau du Preez, Jan Frylinck, Zane Green, Nicol Lofie-Eaton, Bernard Scholtz, Ben Shikongo, JJ Smit, Ruben Trumpelmann, Michael van Lingen, David Wiese, Craig Williams, Picky Ya France. Reserves: Mauritius Ngupita




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