Match preview: Australia v Afghanistan

2015 World Cup

Venue

The WACA, Perth

Team news

Australia's fast bowlers will be eager to get going on a Perth deck that's made for them, but so will the talented Afghanistan pacemen, who could give the co-hosts a bit of a scare on Wednesday.

Australia's campaign is not going as well as they'd like given their victory in the opening match against England, with rain stealing a point from them against Bangladesh and then New Zealand pulling a win out of the fire.

So the Aussies will go into this clash with a view to demolition, with Mitchells Johnson, Starc and Marsh ready to destroy the weaker batting order. James Faulkner could also feature, if he's fit as expected. Who he replaces remains to be seen, with Glenn Maxwell one of the candidates.

Paceman Pat Cummins will not play after he picked up a side strain against the Black Caps, meaning Josh Hazlewood will get a recall, while skipper Michael Clarke has assured one and all that he is fully fit to play.

Afghanistan come into the game on the back of a win against Scotland, their first, and only, in World Cups (this is their first tournament, to be fair) and will look to the Zadrans of Shapoor and Dawlat, as well as Hamid Hassan, for the wickets.

Last encounter

The most recent clash between the sides was in Sharjah in 2012, where the Aussies won by 66 runs. They batted first and made 272 for eight, with Matthew Wade and Michael Clarke making 75 each. Mitchell Starc then took four wickets as the Afghans were all out for 206, Asghar Stanikzai top-scoring with 66.

World Cup meetings

Given this is Afghanistan's first World Cup, this is their maiden voyage against the Aussies in the tournament.

Key players

The Aussies will look to Mitchell Starc, as he's on fire at the moment. Two six-wicket hauls in the past two months, including one in vain against the Kiwis last week, make him their most dangerous white ball bowler, and he knows it.

Afghanistan, if we're honest, are going to struggle against the home pace, but batsman Samiullah Shenwari is their best hope for some runs. He's been in good form so far, making 96 against Scotland, and a neat 38 against Sri Lanka.

Umpires

Kumar Dharmasena and Michael Gough, Billy Bowden (3rd umpire), Ranjan Madugalle (match referee)

Weather

Hot, blazing sun, no clouds, temperatures of 30-plus. A normal day in Perth, then.

Prediction

While the sentimental hearts and neutrals will want to see an Afghan victory, that's highly unlikely. There might be a few exciting moments, especially with the Associate pacemen on this deck, but the hosts will triumph convincingly.

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