Naveen and Nabi to do their bit for the cause

New Zealand v Afghanistan
Sunday, 10:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

New Zealand face the final hurdle

The Kiwi batsmen missed out on a good chance to get to a big individual score about Scotland.

Martin Guptill, fresh from 93 in previous game, may have fancied himself as a contender for top tournament batsman with 60 or so here but fell for 18.

But the important thing is they set a good total as a team, the match-winning partnership coming from somewhat unlikely sources: Glenn Philipps hit 39 off 21 and Jimmy Neesham got 35 off 23. Neesham then picked up a wicket in the one over he bowled, which went for just six and that earned him the MOM award. Fair enough.

Tim Southee and Trent Boult each took two wickets. Adam Milne is yet to take one in two games, but he was far more economical this time round, going at just 6.25 an over.

They’re unlikely to change a winning team unless they feel it’s justified to bring in a third spinner in the form of Todd Astle, which would probably mean Milne making way. But it’s unlikely.

Win this and they’re through.

kane williamson.jpg

Likely XI: Guptill, Mitchell, Williamson, Conway, Philipps, Neesham, Santner, Milne, Southee, Sodhi, Boult.

Afghanistan have it all to do

Were Afghanistan right to change their strategy from batting first to chasing in that fateful loss to India? Well, the result suggests ‘no’ but the overall tournament stats suggest ‘yes’.

In truth, they were just pretty unlucky to run into KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma at their best. And such a good platform had those two set that Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya could come in and swing for the rooftops from ball one.

But what cost them as much as anything was the absence of Mujeeb. Strangely, it’s not clear to anyone just what injury he’s carrying or when he might be back. Even Rashid Khan didn’t seem to know when asked!

They certainly missed him in those Powerplay overs where Rahul and Sharma got going.

Likely XI: Zazai, Shahzad, Guraz, Naib, Zadran, Nabi, Janat, Khan, Ahraf, Ul-Haq, Hassan.

Big first innings score at Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi has been the ground for high scoring of late. Pakistan got 189 batting first against Namibia, India posted that 210 and Sri Lanka got 189 against the Windies.

In all three cases the team batting first won the game, bucking the trend for the tournament where chasing has been the way to go.

Trent Boult NZ.jpg

But in all three cases those big scores were down to excellent batting and some poor bowling meaning those scores were well above par. So it’s not necessarily safe to assume that this is a ‘bat first’ wicket.

Afghanistan back-to-lay should be on

With India’s net run rate now so much better after two big wins, it’s now above the Kiwis. So, the equation is as follows: if New Zealand win, they’re through. If they lose (and India win, which they will), they’re out. If NZ lose it would then go down to net run rate between India and Afghanistan.

With India ahead already and likely to significantly improve it against Namibia, Afghanistan are running out of chances.

New Zealand have been backed as high as 1.68/13 and as low as 1.3130/100. At the moment they’re somewhere in between, at 1.444/9.

I wouldn’t advise backing New Zealand at those odds because if their middle-order is exposed, they may struggle. Especially if Mujeeb is back.

Afghanistan make some appeal at those pre-toss odds, but there’s a fly in the ointment.

If they’re chasing, they may be thinking too much about net run rates, go too hard and end up losing in an attempt to win big. But that price of 3.211/5 is likely to shorten at some stage if you want to lock in a profit of sorts.

Naveen can outdo Rashid

Rashid Khan has seven wickets, Mujeeb has six and Naveen Ul-Haq five. Mujeeb has played just two matches so you’d think he’d be ahead if he’d played as many as the rest.

Like I say, we don’t know if Mujeeb will play here so there’s not much wrong with taking the 11/4 that he’s their top bowler and getting your money back if he doesn’t make it.

Rashid Khan bowling 1280.jpg

But I’d rather take the 4/1 on Naveen Ul-Haq anyway. It’s 13.6 (Naveen) plays 12.1 (Kahn) on T20I career strike rate and he’s been good so far. Khan will bowl at New Zealand’s best players, while Naveen may have some middle-order batters going for a late slog up against him.

There’s also a possibility that Khan may not be his usual uber-confident self after a rare case of being hit round the park against India.

He’s just 6/4.

That 4/1 is a big price on Naveen.

Nabi at generous odds in the circumstances

There’s no-one playing an anchor role in this Afghan side, that’s for sure.

They’re all keen to go for their shots, knowing the price they may pay for it and not being fussed. It’s a good approach that some days will pay off and on others, won’t.

What the approach might do is open the door for someone like Mohammad Nabi.

If one too many of the top order goes ‘six and out’ he may come in and only have 25 or so to beat with enough balls left.

It almost happened against India. Gurbaz was the top scorer on 18 when Nabi came in, who duly scored 35 off 32. He was pipped at the death by someone batting below him at an even bigger price than him.

Karim Janat scored 14 off the last over to get to 42 off 22. Those who backed Nabi must have thought they were home and dry.

Nabi may just promote himself up the order to five in such a big game but 9/1 will do me just fine even if he’s down at six.

Three huge games on Cricket…Only Bettor

Author: wpadmin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *