The T20 World Cup in Australia is the first major test for England's new white-ball captain Jos Buttler. Under Buttler have had a feeble start to his reign but they will be aiming to go big in their World Cup opener against Afghanistan. For Afghanistan the big question is weather they have recovered from the body blows of the Asia Cup. At the Asia Cup, Afghanistan were about to pull off a famous win over Pakistan before Naseem Shah blasted sixes off successive balls to crush Afghan hopes. If that wasn't enough, the very next day, Virat Kohli punished the dejected Afghan bowlers all over the park enroute to his first T20I hundred.
England begin their ICC T20 World Cup 2022 campaign as they take on Afghanistan in Group 1, Super 12 match at Perth Stadium on Friday.
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The T20 World Cup in Australia is the first big step for England's new white ball captain Jos Buttler. The wicketkeeper batsman was promoted to the highest role in England's white-ball cricket after Eoin Morgan retired from the sport in June.
Feeble start for Jos Buttler's captaincy era
Since being appointed as the full time captain of the ODI and T20I teams, Buttler has led England in the white-ball series against India and South Africa. The team has not got the desired results as England squandered the ODI and T20I series against India by a margin of 2-1 before losing the T20I series against South Africa by the same margin. The only saving grace for Buttler was the 50-over series against the Proteas that ended with one match apiece as the deciding game was washed out.
Buttler toured with the team for a seven-match T20I series against Pakistan but did not play a single match as he was suffering from a calf-injury. In Buttler's absence Moeen Ali led the team to a 4-3 series win.
Buttler recovered from his injury to take charge of the team for the three-match series against Australia just ahead of the World Cup. The team carried its form against defending champions and won the series 2-0.
Also read: T20 World Cup NZ vs AUS Super 12 match: Preview, weather update, fantasy picks, betting odds and where to watch
England will hope that Buttler regains the form that he enjoyed in the 2022 IPL where with 863 runs, four hundred and four fifties, he finished as the tournament's leading run scorer.
Two young exciting faces in England camp
Harry Brooks and Philip Salt two young exciting faces in England's squad who could prove to be the X-factors for the Three Lions. Both are hard-hitting batsman and posses powers to clear any ground in the world.
Also making a return in England's squad for this World Cup are all-rounders Sam Curran and Ben Stokes and opening batsman Alex Hales.
This is Stokes' first T20 World Cup since he was hit for four sixes in four balls at Eden Gardens by Carlos Brathwaite. But the all-rounder has been a completely different player since then.
Ahead of their match against Afghanistan, England were delt with an injury blow as Reece Topley was ruled out of the tournament with an ankle injury. Left-arm fast bowler Tymall Mills has been now drafted in the squad as Topley's replacement.
Has Afghanistan recovered from the Asia Cup body blows?
On their day, Afghanistan is a good enough side to brush aside any team in the world. But the big question lingering ahead of their T20 World Cup opener is weather they have recovered from the body blows of the Asia Cup.
At the Asia Cup, Afghanistan were about to pull off a famous win over Pakistan before Naseem Shah blasted sixes off successive balls to crush Afghan hopes. If that wasn't enough, the very next day, Virat Kohli punished the dejected Afghan bowlers all over the park enroute to his first T20I hundred.
Those beatings can linger for a long time. But Afghanistan can draw inspiration from the fact that before they were blown apart they recorded a win over eventual champions Sri Lanka. This year they have drawn series a T20I series against Bangladesh and won series against Zimbabwe and Ireland.
The spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi will decided how far can the team progress in this tournament. On the down side hard-hitting opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai have virtually no experience of playing on bouncy wickets that are common in Australia.
Form Guide (last five matches)
England vs Afghanistan Head to Head
Matches played: 2
England wins: 2
Afghanistan wins: -
The Perth pitch will be of great advantage for the fast bowlers. According to former Aussie cricketer David Hussey the ball on the pitch can go through very, very quickly and it takes probably an over or two to get used to the pace and the bounce.
According to weather.com, there could be light rains in Perth. The evening temperature could be around 12° C. Chance of rain is only 14%.
England possible XI
Jos Buttler (c/wk), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes
Afghanistan possible XI
Rhamanullah Gurbaz (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Usman Ghani, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen Ul Haq
Top fantasy pick suggestions
Batsmen: Hazratullah Zazai, Alex Hales, Harry Brook
Wicketkeeper: Jos Buttler
All-rounders: Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Mohammad Nabi
Bowlers: Rashid Khan, Mark Wood, Mujeeb Rahman
Betting Odds (bet 365)
Where to watch:
The match begins at 4.30 PM IST. In India the match will be broadcast live on the Starsports network. Online viewers can catch the action via the Disney+Hotstar app.
(Edited by : Jerome Anthony)