This is likely to be the most one-sided contest in the entire T20 Cricket World Cup, but is there any hope of Afghanistan upsetting the odds against India (3pm BST, Wednesday, Sept 19)?
India haven’t been at their best in the matches leading up to the tournament but this would arguably be the biggest ever shock in world cricket if MS Dhoni’s men were to lose.
If you look at form ahead of this game then you could argue that the Afghans are in slightly better touch right now. Their warm-up fixtures included a win over an admittedly weakened Sri Lanka side before a comprehensive defeat to the West Indians.
As for India, they lost their last official T20 international to a New Zealand side who many felt should have been dismissed comfortably and after Dhoni’s men beat a stronger Sri Lankan team, they endured a comprehensive defeat against close rivals Pakistan.
However, you only have to look at the comparative strengths of the two line ups to realise just how difficult Afghanistan’s task will be. India, who are favourites to win the tournament – see the Cricket World Cup outright betting here – have the strongest batting order, on paper at least, in the competition.
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag will open the batting with Virat Kohli coming in after the fall of the first wicket. Even if that top order happens to fail, one day specialists Dhoni and Suresh Raina will be there to propel the total forward.
India’s bowling attack is considered by some to be the weakest part of their squad but it remains a formidable force in this form of the game. Ravi Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh will keep the scores down even if they aren’t taking wickets.
Then of course there is Yuvraj Singh who is returning to the side after lengthy treatment for cancer. Yuvraj returned to an emotional welcome during the series with New Zealand. He proved in the final game that he can still construct an explosive T20 innings in a short space of time.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan have some talented individuals in their line up including the wicket keeper Mohammad Shahzad who has already made a one day international hundred. In reality, Afghanistan are just using this tournament for experience and will simply be delighted to take wickets and post reasonable totals, even in a losing cause.
The only hope for Afghanistan lies with the poor weather that has plagued Sri Lanka in recent weeks and even if rain does arrive, it will still need an unlikely scenario for the Duckworth Lewis method to favour the Afghans.
Afghanistan v India Betting Conclusion
If India – best odds of 1/25 with Bet365 – bat first and a shortened game leaves their opponents to chase a low total from five overs then there may be a chance of a real shock but it is a slim one indeed. We expect India to do the business but if you are looking for that miracle then Afghanistan are best odds of 12/1 with Bet365, BetVictor & Stan James.