Afghanistan will compete with India, Pakistan, New Zealand, and two qualifier teams as they all have been placed in Group 2 for the T20 World Cup later this year in the UAE, as announced by the ICC on Friday. Group 1 consists of England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies and two more qualifier teams.
Afghanistan can be considered the dark horse for the tournament, in the format which they favour the most of the three. While expecting them to win the title or even reach the final would be farfetched, they could put up a couple of surprises and may reach the semi-final. They have already qualified for the Super 12s over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, who both will have to go through a qualifying tournament preceding the main tournament.
They came close to making big upsets in the 2019 World Cup against India and Pakistan, but failed to keep their nerves in the final few overs. They went winless in the entire tournament, however, the side would be expected to register victories this year. Not to forget, in the 2016 T20 World Cup Afghanistan defeated the eventual champions of West Indies in the group stage.
3 Reasons Why Afghanistan Can Prove To Be The Dark Horse Of The Tournament:
The team is in the form
Going into the T20 World Cup, Afghanistan will have a solid run of form on their back. In fact, the team hasn’t lost a T20I series since July 2017. They have defeated the likes of Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh, West Indies in the past few years, and have lost just 1 of their last 12 T20I series.
Despite the issues within the board and some players, which saw Rashid Khan now being named the T20 captain, the team has performed brilliantly on the field, especially in the shortest version of the game.
Players like Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Karim Janat offer fire-power at the top, with a solid middle-order in the hands of Usman Ghani, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran. Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan control the finishing and spin-bowling duties while the Afghanistan Premier League have thrown up some decent pacers.