CWCQ preview: Afghanistan bank on tweakers

Afghanistan will be looking to their spin wizards to help them earn a place alongside the game’s elite at the Cricket World Cup in 2019.

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan this month became the youngest male player ever to top the ICC ODI bowling rankings while Mohammed Nabi provides depth to the batting as well.

Add Mujeed Zadran, who became the youngest player to take an ODI five wicket haul against Zimbabwe this month, to the mix and Afghanistan will be backing themselves to make the Showpiece.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan completed a 4-1 series win over Zimbabwe in Sharjah on Monday which will give them a tremendous boost heading into the tournament that the Southern Africans will host.

The experienced Nabi says that their team will play with the hopes of a nation on their shoulders in Zimbabwe.

He said: “We feel very proud to be playing in the qualifying round and will hopefully qualify for the World Cup. We have confidence in our spin attack. It is important for the whole nation that we qualify for the World Cup because that is the only thing that gets them happiness.”

Afghanistan squad: Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Ihsanullah Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Nasir Jamal, Javed Ahmadi, Mujeeb Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shinwari, Shahpoor Zadran and Sharafuddin Ashraf.

Fixtures:

First round

March

4 A: Papua New Guinea v UAE, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

4 A: Ireland v Netherlands, Old Hararians (07:30 GMT)

4 B: Zimbabwe v Nepal, Queen’s Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

4 B: Afghanistan v Scotland, Bulawayo Athletic Club(07:30 GMT)

6 A: Papua New Guinea v Ireland, Harare Sports Club(07:30 GMT)

6 A: West Indies v UAE, Old Hararians (07:30 GMT)

6 B: Zimbabwe v Afghanistan, Queen’s Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

6 B: Scotland v Hong Kong, Bulawayo Athletic Club(07:30 GMT)

8 A: Netherlands v UAE, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

8 A: West Indies v Papua New Guinea, Old Hararians (07:30 GMT)

8 B: Scotland v Nepal, Queen’s Sports Club(07:30 GMT)

8 B: Afghanistan v Hong Kong, Bulawayo Athletic Club (07:30 GMT)

10 A: West Indies v Ireland, Harare Sports Club(07:30 GMT)

10 A: Papua New Guinea v Netherlands, Old Hararians (07:30 GMT)

10 B: Zimbabwe v Hong Kong, Queen’s Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

10 B: Afghanistan v Nepal, Bulawayo Athletic Club (07:30 GMT)

12 A: West Indies v Netherlands, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

12 A: Ireland v UAE, Old Hararians(07:30 GMT)

12 B: Hong Kong v Nepal, Queen’s Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

12 B: Zimbabwe v Scotland, Bulawayo Athletic Club(07:30 GMT)

(Top three teams in each group qualify for Super Sixes; others move into play-offs)

Super Sixes and play-offs
15 A1 v B1, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

15 A3 v B3, Queen’s Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

15 Play-off: A5 v B4, Old Hararians (07:30 GMT)

15 Play-off: A4 v B5, Kwekwe (07:30 GMT)

16 A2 v B2, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

17 9th/10th place play-off, Old Hararians (07:30 GMT)

17 7th/8th place play-off. Kwekwe (07:30 GMT)

18 A2 v B3, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

19 A1 v B2, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

20 A3 v B1, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

22 A1 v B3, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

22 A3 v B2, Old Hararians (07:30 GMT)

23 A2 v B1, Harare Sports Club (07:30 GMT)

(Top two teams in Super Six make the final – both qualify for 2019 World Cup)

25 Final, Harare Sports Club (08:30 BST)