Afghanistan has improved enormously in international cricket since 2016. I just love watching this young Afghanistan team in ODIs and T20Is. And finally, they have qualified, to play their first ever world cup!!

Let’s review their world cup squad and see what their strengths and weaknesses are!

Strengths:
1. Their Spin Web:
Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi & Mujeeb Ur Rahman are the core of this Afghanistan team!! They have bowled extremely well for Afghanistan and it is their biggest strength.

Rashid Khan has won hearts of all cricket fans and experts around the world with his skills and expertise. He has been bowling like a dream in the recent past and has been extremely consistent in leagues all-round the world.

Mohammad Nabi is a three-dimensional player, who can bat and ball and also a good fielder. He is an extremely accurate off-spinner who guarantees you 10 overs every match and a few wickets with that. He can also come in at the end and hit boundaries at will from the first ball if required.

Mujeeb also, one of Afghanistan’s young rising talents have lit up tournaments that he has played in. He is known for his tons of variations. He mostly bowls with the new ball and some times even completes his quota of over in the first 20 overs of the match.

If used smartly, these three spinners can stop big teams like England, South Africa & New Zealand from reaching big scores.

Weaknesses:
1. Pace Attack:
The fast bowling options that Afghanistan have are not so pleasing and I am not so sure if their fast bowlers can pose a threat for the top teams in world cup 2019. They have options in Aftab Alam, Dawlat Zadran & Hamid Hassan but will they be effective in the world cup 2019.

Afghanistan team will be highly dependant on its spinners to take crucial wickets and change matches.

Team’s X-Factor:
No doubt in who will is the X-Factor in this team!! It has to Rashid Khan. Afghanistan means Rashid Khan. Currently, he is synonymous to Afghanistan Cricket. If Afghanistan is hoping to do well in world cup 2019, Rashid Khan has to fire in all cylinders.

Expected Playing XI for world cup 2019:
1. Mohammad Shahzad
2. Hazratullah Zazai
3. Rahmat Shah
4. Asghar Afghan
5. Hashmatullah Shahidi
6. Gulbadin Naib
7. Mohammad Nabi
8. Rashid Khan
9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
10. Dawlat Zadran
11. Aftab Alam

Bench:
12. Najibullah Zadran
13. Noor Ali Khan
14. Rahmat Shah
15. Samiullah Shinwari

Fixtures for World cup 2019:
01/06- vs Australia @Bristol
04/06- vs Sri Lanka @Cardiff
08/06- vs New Zealand @Taunton
15/06- vs South Africa @Cardiff
18/06- vs England @Manchester
22/06- vs India @Southampton
24/06- vs Bangladesh @Southampton
29/06- vs Pakistan @Leeds
04/07- vs West Indies @Leeds

Where will Afghanistan Finish in world cup 2019?
Afghanistan team is a much more improved side from the past and is a team which can cause a few upsets against top sides in world cup 2019.

I don’t see them in the semi-finals for sure. Winning 3-4 games out of 9 games would be a huge thing for Afghanistan cricket and I really hope they come back stronger and bigger in the next ICC Tournaments.

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