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England eye to carry on winning streak against Afghanistan today

June 18, 2019 00:00:00

MANCHESTER, June 17 (Agencies): Hosts England will aim to carry on its winning streak with a hat-trick when they meet minnows Afghanistan in World Cup 2019 group affair at the Old Trafford here on Tuesday.

It will also be for the first time when the two teams face-off in the 50-over format.

Except for their loss against Pakistan, it's been a smooth ride for the hosts who have had massive wins in three games.

The hosts are struggling with fitness issues, the latest being captain Eoin Morgan having to leave the field with a back spasm during the game against the West Indies.

Opening batsman Jason Roy was also forced off the field during the same match due to a tight hamstring.

Opener Jason Roy will miss England's next two World Cup matches, but captain Eoin Morgan could be fit to face Afghanistan at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Roy, 28, will sit out the meeting with Afghanistan and Friday's match against Sri Lanka, with England saying he will be assessed on an "ongoing basis".

Morgan's spasm has "settled down" and a decision will be made before the game.

Roy's absence could lead to a recall for James Vince, the reserve batsman in England's 15-man squad.

All-rounder Moeen Ali could return to strengthen England's top seven if Morgan does not feature against Afghanistan.

Leaving aside the injury concerns, the hosts have performed well like a unit. Jofra Archer's spells have added depth to their bowling and Mark Wood has also been impressive. England's only concern could be the form of their spinners who haven't been upto the mark. However, looking at the wicket here, it seems this time their spinners will also make the most of it.

On the other hand, Afghanistan has remained winless so far. The Afghans have lost all of their four games in the tournament so far.

The Gulbadin Naib-led side has experimented with several combinations but nothing has worked for them. Batting remains a major challenge as the batsmen have failed in putting runs. While some of their bowlers like Mohammad Nabi, Hamid Hassan and Rashid Khan have been economical, they have struggled to get wickets. However, looking at the conditions here, a lot will be expected from Rashid.

Their pacer need to be more consistent as the bowling unit has mostly relied on the spinners.

Naib could include Mujeeb-ur-Rahman for Tuesday's game in what is likely to be a spin-friendly track.

Squads: England (Probable XI): Eoin Morgan (Captain), Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, James Vince, Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Dawson, Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Joe Root

Afghanistan (Probable XI): Afghanistan World Cup squad: Gulbadin Naib (Captain), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah (wicket-keeper), Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ikram Ali Khil

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