Afghan cricketers may be the most recent addition to the list of Test-playing countries, but they surely don’t seem to be the most inexperienced bunch and are playing some great live cricket. They are already in the mix among the teams and have a good chance of earning direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India. A large part of their recent success can be attributed to victories over the Netherlands, and they would want to finish the series 3-0 to boost their prospects of qualifying straight for the ICC’s premier tournament.
Afghanistan has unquestionably been the better team in the two matches they have played so far, both with the cricket bat and ball, having won both of them. Both of their victories have been by wide margins, which says something about how clinical they have been in their performances. Although they have made progress, there are still certain areas where they need to improve, and it will be intriguing to watch how they do in the last One-Day International.
It will be very important for the Afghanistan team to win this next One Day International. With a victory here, they will move closer to securing a place in the World Cup 2023. They are presently in the third position in the World Super League points chart. It will be necessary for them to win three matches in their next series against the United Arab Emirates and based on their current form, they will be confident in their prospects.
Afghanistan has not had a perfect year, but they have fared much better than the Netherlands. Their batting has appeared a little weak in the two matches they have played so far, as they have failed to reach 250 runs on both occasions. They have enjoyed excellent beginnings from their batsmen Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, and Usman Ghani, but none of them have been able to establish a lasting impression.
When it came to the penultimate match, Rahmanullah Gurbaz appeared like a different player entirely, as he single-handedly guided his team to a daunting score. Bowling has undoubtedly been the most important factor in the Afghans’ emphatic victories in both matches. When we have seen them play, Yamin Ahmadzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, and Fareed Ahmad have all looked stunning.
All things considered, Afghanistan does have their problems, but they have managed to resolve them excellently. They undoubtedly bring something different to the table with Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman on the field, and that is what they call their x-factor. If they maintain their current level of play, defeating them in the following game will be very tough.
The Netherlands was never considered favourites to win the series before it began, but they will be dissatisfied with their performance so far in the tournament. They seemed to be a bit rusty in both of the matches we’ve seen so far, and they’ll be eager to get things back on track in the third and final encounter of the series.
It is not that the Afghans have entirely outplayed the Netherlands, but there has been a significant disparity between the two teams’ performances. The Netherlands has done rather well with the ball, but their inability to perform to their full capacity with the bat has cost them twice.
On paper, the Netherlands has a rather strong team, with players like Bas de Leede, Colin Ackermann, Pieter Seelar, and Fred Klaassen bringing significant experience to the table. They have, however, been far from their best recently and will need to turn up their game in this crucial encounter on Sunday. When they play to their full capacity, they have the power to reverse the tide against the Afghans which may be a very tough feat if they do not play to their strengths.
Seven one-day internationals have been played between Afghanistan and the Netherlands. Afghanistan has won five times thus far, whereas the Netherlands has only won two.
As a result, this is a crucial match for both teams, not just in terms of the series, but also in terms of the overall World Series rankings. Afghanistan will be in an excellent position if they can pull off a victory in this match. However, the Netherlands would want to demonstrate their might by taking home the victory in this series. Based on the current record and on-paper combinations of the two teams, betting for Afghanistan to win should be the best course of action in this match.
DATE AND TIME: 25th January 2022 @12:30 PM IST
VENUE: West End Park International Cricket Stadium, Doha.