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It's 'trial by spin' for Namibia as they take on Afghanistan

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Abu Dhabi, Oct 31 (IANS) It will be Namibia’s ‘trial by spin’ when they face an Afghanistan side, which is looking to claw back after their loss to Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup ‘Super 12’ game, here later on Sunday.

With Afghanistan’s famed spinners, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, hitting the ground running in early Group 2 action, the first-ever T20I clash between the two sides will be decided on how well Namibia face the spin test.

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Following a crushing 130-run victory over Scotland to begin their T20 World Cup campaign, Afghanistan were overrun by Pakistan, thanks to a late-over blitz by Asif Ali. In the aftermath of the loss, stalwart Asghar Afghan has quit international career, and the 33-year-old would like to bow out on a high on Sunday night.

Namibia’s middle order has shown an aptitude against spin in their campaign, though they are yet to face a spinner of Rashid or Mujeeb’s class here. Led by Rashid, the fastest to 100 T20I wickets, Afghanistan will show no mercy with their attack, and Mujeeb and Mohammad Nabi are unlikely to provide any respite.

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For Namibia, they would be relying on their pace bowlere to rattle the Afghan batting line-up. While Ruben Trumpelmann, JJ Smit and Jan Frylinck are their pace options, skipper Gerhard Erasmus also has a left-arm orthodox bowling option in Bernard Scholtz.

Afghanistan are unlikely to make wholesale changes even after their defeat to Pakistan, though the big question is if Asghar Afghan will get the chance to bow out after his retirement.

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“We’ve put in extreme amounts of analysis into the opposition and we’ve worked on individual game plans. So, I think sitting where we are now tonight, we’re in a really good place. Anything could happen in T20 cricket, we know that,” said Namibia’s Craig Williams on his team’s preparation against Afghanistan’s spin attack.

Afghanistan too said that they still have the semifinal spot in their sights, given that the Group was still wide open.

“There are three teams that will be fighting for that spot because India has played one and lost one. And New Zealand has played one and lost one. I think the table is right open,” said Naveen-ul-Haq.

Afghanistan Possible XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Asghar Afghan, Karim Janat, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Namibia Possible XI: Craig Williams, Michael van Lingen, Gerhard Erasmus (c), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Zane Green, Jan Frylinck, Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Pikky Ya France, Bernard Scholtz.

–IANS

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