It is fair to say that this T20 Cricket World Cup has made a fairly subdued start with one-sided wins for Sri Lanka and Australia against weaker opposition. The betting suggests the same again in favour of England (1/14 shots) over Afghanistan (3pm BST, Friday, Sept 21).
Unless you were an Indian fan, however, you would have undoubtedly enjoyed Afghanistan’s performance against MS Dhoni and his side. They were still in contention until the start of the last over.
India may have been pre-tournament favourites but they were never comfortable in that match, even if a 23-run winning margin suggests otherwise. England supporters may have concerns too because Stuart Broad’s side don’t have the best of records against the lower ranked nations in limited overs cricket.
Does this mean that Mohammad Shahzad’s men can go one better to pull off the shock win of the tournament? Not if the bookies’ betting odds are any guide:
The most impressive part of Afghanistan’s cricket was their bowling. The attack reduced the Indians to 22-2 after the opening pair of Gambhir and Sehwag had departed and although the middle order staged a recovery, MS Dhoni’s side could only post a modest total of 159-5.
Shapoor Zadran was the pick of those bowlers with figures of 2-33 while he received able and economical support throughout the side. If only the catching and fielding had been up to the same standard it may have restricted India to a more achievable total.
Taking all of this into account, England may want to win the toss and field first, particularly if the weather forecast is correct and rain intervenes. Nobody wants to rely on Duckworth Lewis in a shortened match but Broad’s men will just be happy to avoid any disasters and to move on to a group decider against India on Sunday.
There really shouldn’t be too many alarm bells for England because the side has been in good form in T20 cricket as they start the defence of their title. At the end of the three match series in Sri Lanka, batsmen and bowlers started to find some touch and the unit has looked particularly impressive in two warm-up wins against Australia and Pakistan.
England’s spin duo of Graeme Swann and Danny Briggs will have a big part to play in this tournament. Swann is now edging towards the veteran stage of his career but Hampshire left armer Briggs has been particularly impressive.
With regards to the batting, the top order have all found form. While no single batsman has made a big score since Alex Hales’ 99 against the West Indies in June, Craig Kieswetter, Luke Wright, Jos Buttler and Hales himself are all making useful contributions.
Afghanistan v England Betting Tips Advice
As a team, England will certainly be wary of the Afghans but really they should have no concerns. This is a very different English side to the one that claimed the T20 crown two years ago but there is more than enough talent throughout the starting XI to secure a comfortable and alarm-free victory in this match.