As we get into the thick of the Super 12 phase, two sides who are trying to make history by professing further than any other non-test playing side in World Cup history meet in Afghanistan vs Namibia.
Namibia carried on their fairytale tournament as they won their first match against fellow round 1 qualifier Scotland. Afghanistan have played two matches in the Super 12s, beating Scotland but losing to Pakistan in what was an incredibly spirited display.
Despite their loss, Afghanistan are huge favourites for this match and are very short in the betting at 1.17. To pull off the shock, the Namibians can be backed at 5.00.
Afghanistan vs Namibia T20 World Cup
Team News for Afghanistan
What more can you say about Afghanistan and the way they fought against Pakistan? It was a determined effort, and a famous victory was almost had against one of this tournament's leading nations. Needing 24 off the final two overs, Asif Ali bludgeoned four sixes in the penultimate over to guide Pakistan to a third successive victory.
Afghanistan looked to score with attacking intent, with each batter throwing the bat hard at the ball. Looking in trouble, Afghanistan formed a superb partnership between captain Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib, each scoring 35 runs apiece.
With the ball, it was the experience of Rashid Khan who made the telling breakthroughs, taking two wickets for just 26 runs across his four overs.
If Afghanistan are to record this crucial win, much will lie in the abilities of Khan, and he is priced at 1.83 to take over 1.5 match wickets.
Likely playing 11 of Afghanistan
Mohammad Shahzad, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Najibullah Zadran, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Nain, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fareed Malik
Team News for Namibia
Having already captured the hearts of the cricketing world by qualifying for the Super 12 phase of the tournament, Namibia got their Super 12 phase off to the dream start with a win against Scotland. It could ultimately be a match that decides who finishes bottom of the group, but, for now, Namibia will be dreaming of creating further history.
The key to their victory was the performance of fast bowler Reuben Trumpelmann. In a stunning opening over, Trumpelmann reduced Scotland to 2-3. The Namibian bowling attack would then reduce Scotland to a total of 109.
The run chase from the Namibians was measured, with them chasing down the total with five balls to spare. The chase was led by JJ Smit, who scored 32 off 23 balls.
This will be Namibia's greatest test to date, and they will need a complete team performance if they are to be victorious here. The experience of David Wiese will be key for Namibia, and he is priced at 3.75 to be his team's top bowler.
Likely playing 11 of Namibia
Zane Green, Craig Williams, Michael van Lingen, Gerhard Erasmus, David Wiese, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz
Pitch and Weather Conditions
This match will be played at the Zayed Sports City Stadium and is a venue that the Namibians are used to, having played three of their four contests here. They have won twice and lost once.
Of all the pitches at this World Cup, this one is the slowest, with the ball being slow to come on to the bat.
In total, there have been 51 T20 International matches played at the stadium, with the team that bats first having won 23 times and the team that bats second 28 times. The team batting second has won on all occasions in this World Cup.
The pitch will make the Afghanistan team worthy favourites and will suit their spin bowlers perfectly.
Betting Predictions for Afghanistan vs Namibia
Let's take a look at a few important betting predictions for Afghanistan vs Namibia:
Match Result Prediction
In their brave defeat against Pakistan, Afghanistan showed that they are minnows no more and deserve their seat at cricket's top table. So close to making it two wins from two, the Afghans will be seeing this as the perfect opportunity to put themselves back in the qualification hunt.
As promised before the tournament by consultant coach Andy Flower, this Afghan side possesses power up and down the order. It will take a determined effort from Namibia's bowlers to keep the total low.
This will be Namibia's firmest test since an opening defeat against Sri Lanka. The Namibians were outclassed that day, and the betting would suggest the same thing could happen here.
Namibia are a different side since that first contest, but this would be a shock for the ages if they were to pull off the upset here.
Match Winner: Afghanistan (1.17)
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Either team to win the toss can be backed at 1.91. On a pitch that could be very hard to bat on, the side that wins the toss will want to bat to make the most of the better batting conditions before scoring gets harder as the game goes on. Any score over 150 should be very hard to chase.
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Top Batsman for Namibia
Namibia face a stern test of their skills here and will face a barrage of spin. They will need their best players to perform, and nobody has performed better than captain Gerhard Erasmus with the bat.
Erasmus has shown what a capable player and captain he is, and he can be backed at 4.50 to be his team's top scorer, which looks like good value to us.
Top Batsman for Namibia: Gerhard Erasmus (4.50)
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