In the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday, the table-toppers, New Zealand look to continue their winning momentum when they will be locking horns with Afghanistan in Taunton. With this being the first match being played at the Cooper Associates County Ground, New Zealand will look to outclass the Afghans on a flat track with Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor looking in supreme form.
On the other hand, Afghanistan has done well in some parts of the tournament with Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan reveling with bat and ball. They will now have to face one of their tougher tests in Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, who provide the complete package with pace and swing in abundance.
With the likes of Rahmat Shah and Hazratullah Zazai expected to put their hand-up for the Afghans, they will be hoping to put in a decent performance to help them upset the 2015 ICC World Cup Finalists on Saturday. Here are some of the predictions for the game:
The most pleasing aspect of ICC World Cup 2019 so far for New Zealand is that they have won both matches without two of their first-choice team being available. That might change here with Tim Southee and Henry Nicholls both expected to come back into contention after sitting out the first two matches with injury. If they return, Matt Henry and Jimmy Neesham will have to warm the bench.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Latham, Colin de Grandhomee, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Noor Ali Zadran is expected to play in this game at the top of the order to replace Mohammad Shahzad while Ikram Ali Khil is also expected to be included to don the gloves. That could mean Dawlat Zadran misses out – if Afghanistan wants to play three spinners – or Mujeeb Ur Rahman, after a difficult two matches, if they want to keep another quick. Whichever way they go, they may be left with just five frontline bowlers.
Probable XI: Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zarzai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Najibullah Zadram, Rashid Khan, Ikram Ali Khil, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Fantasy XI prediction
Tom Latham, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill (C), Mohammad Nabi (VC), James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Hamid Hassan, Rashid Khan, Trent Boult .