After shocking Afghanistan with a 10-wicket win in the first Test, Zimbabwe will now be aiming for a series sweep, when the two teams come head to head for the second Test, starting on March 10, 2021. Last week, the two teams had played out the first Test, which became the second game in the format in a month’s time to end within two days.
Against Zimbabwe’s quality seam attack, Afghanistan’s inexperienced batting unit faced great difficulty and couldn’t seem to get out of the puddle. But, Afghanistan’s biggest concern in the previous match was the absence of star spinner Rashid Khan. If he recovers from his finger injury in time for the second Test, it will be a big plus for the Afghanistan team.
Considering he has 23 wickets from four Tests, it can be assumed he plays a massive role in their bowling unit. But, another challenge for the Afghanistan unit will be around selecting their XI. With their batting falling apart and the pitch assisting the seamers, captain Asghar Afghan would be conflicted with many thoughts when he sits to chalk out his XI for this team. A spin dominant attack might not actually be a good idea to go ahead with.
In the opposite camp, though, Zimbabwe skipper Sean Williams would be happy with the way his side dominated the first match. The pace trio of Donald Tiripano, Blessing Muzarabani, Victor Nyauchi took 16 wickets between them in the first Test and were the deciding factor in many ways. However, their batting might also be an area of concern.
Yes, they did make more runs than Afghanistan, but at one point during their first innings, they were reeling at 38 for 4. It was their skipper along with Sikandar Raza who bailed them out of the situation. Hence, there will be some pressure on the top order to get some runs. The venue would be the same as the first Test, hence Zimbabwe would fancy themselves to get another win in their kitty.
Pitch and Conditions
The first pitch in the first Test at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi was a bit of a mystery. It seemed that from one end, it assisted seam bowling while from the other end, it was helping the spinners. However, the Zimbabwe pace trio enjoyed getting some good carry and assistance from the surface while the Afghanistan spinners struggled to find areas from where they could extract spin. Another ‘spicy wicket’ is likely to be on offer for the second Test.
Playing combinations for AFG vs ZIM
If Rashid Khan is fit and ready to play, his inclusion would be the only addition to the Afghanistan team. He would replace Abdul Wasi if he comes into the side. Khan’s inclusion would also add to their batting strength. Afghanistan could also drop Zahir Khan and turn to a seamer, considering the help which the seamers got from the surface in the first Test.
Probable XI: Abdul Malik, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Munir Ahmad, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai (wk), Asghar Afghan (c), Abdul Wasi/Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zahir Khan/Wafadar Momand
Zimbabwe is more likely to stick to the same combination, which played in the first Test. After their performance in the first Test, it would make very little sense tinkering with the line-up.
Probable XI: Prince Masvaure, Kevin Kasuza, Sean Williams (C), Richmond Mutumbami, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl/Wesley Madhevere, Regis Chakabva (WK), Donald Tiripano, Blessing Muzarabani, Brandon Mavuta, Wellington Masakadza.
AFG vs ZIM Head to Head
Played – 1 | ZIM won – 1 | AFG won – 0
AFG vs ZIM Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 11:00 AM IST; 9:30 AM local
Live Streaming – Fancode
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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