Campaign in Afghanistan in 2022 T20 World Cup has been nothing short of a disappointment as the Asian side have failed to register a single win in their three games so far. Although they were defeated by a spirited England side early in their campaign, rain spoiled play in their remaining two matches in Melbourne.

Mohammad Nabi’s men will be playing for pride when they take on Asian champions Sri Lanka, who have had a bittersweet tournament so far. While the islanders are favorites in the competition, Afghanistan would like to remind them of their humiliating defeat in the Ais Cup earlier this year.

Let’s take a look at the probable Afghanistan XI vs Sri Lanka:

Openers: Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmanula Gurbaz (weekly)

Ibrahim Zadran was one of the few bright sparks for Afghanistan in their narrow defeat to England earlier in the campaign. The 20-year-old, who has been a godsend for the Asian side, scored 32 points to anchor his team after early setbacks in the game.

Zadran’s young first partner Rahmanullah Gurbaz won the Asia Cup earlier this year but failed to replicate the same form after the continental tournament. The 20-year-old is one of their most exciting prospects as his explosive batting at the top could add another dimension to the Afghan side.

Middle: Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib

Usman Ghani was another batsman who managed to fend off the English bowling attack in the middle. But the classy batsman failed to deliver a blow after the start as Afghanistan got quick strikes in the middle. Ghani’s 30 innings helped his side recover from a hostile opening period from England.

Afghanistan are sorely missing Najibullah Zadran’s renowned power batting in the lower middle order. One of the most dangerous batsmen in this format, Zadran’s long arms have led Afghanistan to several victories. But the southpaw has been in terrible form and will be hoping to showcase his skills against Sri Lanka.

Gulbadin Naib was drafted into the squad after Hazratullah Zazai’s stomach injury ruled him out of the T20 World Cup being held in Australia. This news came before the clash between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Playing the all-rounder role in the team, Naib is a capable middle-order batsman given his vast experience at that level.

All-rounders: Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan

The backbone of the Afghanistan team, captain Mohammad Nabi put the ball in front against England in the previous match. The all-rounder is one of the most valuable players in the short game format because of his known ability. His contribution will be crucial for the team against Sri Lanka.

Rashid Khan is the number one T20I bowler in the world and frankly there is no better player in the format in the entire world. Rashid, still only 24, is on course to break records in the shortest format of the game with 119 scalps, the third most behind Tim Southee and Shakib al-Hassan.

Bowlers: Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Farid Ahmad Malik, Azmatullah Amarzai, Fazalhaq Farooqui

Mujeeb Ur Rahman is another exceptionally gifted spinner in Afghanistan’s ranks who may not get the recognition he deserves due to Rashid Khan’s fame. The 21-year-old often bowls tough overs in the powerplay, not allowing even an inch of batting during the field’s restrictions.

The Afghanistan attack has been the team’s Achilles heel in recent outings despite boasting some talented fast bowlers. The likes of Farid Ahmad Malik, Azmatullah Amarzai and Fazalhaq Farooqui have what it takes to perform in Australian conditions given their natural ability to create pace and bounce, but the trio has suffered from inconsistency.

Afghanistan predicted XI against Sri Lanka:

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi (c), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Azmatullah Amarzai, Farid Ahmad Malik, Fazalhaq Farooqui

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