An injury plagued England will be eyeing the top spot in the points-table as they lock horns with the struggling Afghanistan in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 encounter at the Old Trafford in Manchester.
The English, ranked as World Number 1 in ODI cricket, are without opener Jason Roy, who has been ruled out of the Afghanistan clash due to hamstring injury. Skipper Eoin Morgan is fit and has returned to the field after recovering from a back spasm. Both players suffered their injuries against West Indies on Friday and Roy will be out for at least one more game.
The injury to Roy is likely to benefit Moeen Ali, as two of his three ODI hundreds have come as an opening batsman and his off-spin would help cater to an Old Trafford pitch which was used on Sunday for the India-Pakistan clash and exhibited a healthy degree of turn.
England batsmen have been scoring in excess of 300 in recent times and will look to continue the trend, while the bowlers spearheaded by Jofra Archer and Mark Wood have troubled some of the best in the business with pace and bounce. One can only expect England to continue in the same vein.
Afghanistan, who have been more rash than they would have liked so far are yet to register a point at the World Cup after four matches, and will depend heavily on their spinners Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi to derail the English batting unit.
The Afghanistan batting has been unreliable but all eyes will be on how opener Noor Ali Zadran can deal with the fast and furious England attack. Gulbadin Naib will be hoping Noor Ali to be at his dangerous best and allow the rest of the batting to take advantage of his free-scoring ways.
For Naib and boys, who are all but sure of not making it to the semis, this represents a chance to punch well above their weights, while England look to put the foot down on the pedal.
Afghanistan and England have faced off just once before in ODI cricket – when they locked horns in #CWC15 in Sydney! 👀
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 18, 2019
Meanwhile, England have won the toss and opted to bat first in Manchester.
England playing XI:
Jonny Bairstow, James Vince, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood.
Afghanistan playing XI:
Rahmat Shah, Noor Ali Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Gulbadin Naib (c), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran.