Afghanistan will be facing New Zealand tomorrow in the T20 World Cup. While it remains a dead rubber as far as Afghanistan are concerned, both Indian and NZ fans will be hoping for drastically different results. See, if Afghanistan wins, India sails through to the semis on NRR.
But it is easier said than done. New Zealand is a might team on a roll and Afghanistan, despite their heart are minnows in the sport. That said, this is T20 cricket and weirder things have come to pass.
1. Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan is one of the more sought after players in T20 leagues across the world. He plays in the IPL, he performs in the BBL, as an allrounder on certain occasions. He has an economy of 6 and a strike rate of 12. A lot of our hopes basically are on his shoulders.
2. They nearly beat Pakistan.
Had it not been for Asif Ali's brilliant 25 of 7 balls, Afghanistan would have handed Pakistan their first loss in the tournament.
3. Never has a team in the history of cricket come so far in so little time.
They played their first ODI against a full member of the ICC in 2012 and since then have played their hearts out. Makes you wonder, if they had the same facilities as most cricketing countries do and if they weren't suffering from US interference and the Taliban, that would be a team we would all struggle to beat.
4. Players like Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan have big-game experience by playing club cricket across the planet.
They have performed and outperformed many of their peers. And looking at Nabi here, that man can hit some big sixes and at will.
5. They have beaten big teams before. And it would be typical of Afghanistan to pull an upset out of the hat.
They have defeated teams like West Indies, Sri Lanka and yes, Bangladesh. Point being, they definitely can. It's why 1.5 billion people are going to watch the game tomorrow.
6. Almost every World Cup has an upset or two. And this tournament here, is due for one.
Bangladesh did it in 2007, the Netherlands have done it, Afghanistan did it themselves in 2016. And this tournament has been fairly ordinary by those standards.
We know that millions of people will be on their side tomorrow, cheering every ball that is bowled. That is the fact and it is undisputed. Afghanistan is a team that gives 200% every game and that's not going to change, irrespective of India's interest in the match.