England are without Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and more recently Reece Topley, all out because of injuries but have shored up the team with the additions such as Alex Hales, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and Phil Salt. Afghanistan, interestingly are coached by former England batsman Jonathan Trott.
Where will the match be decided?
New ball face-off: Jos Buttler vs Fazalhaq Farooqi
Jos Buttler was phenomenal in the Indian Premier League — 863 runs that include four centuries in 17 innings at a strike rate almost touching 150. Stopping him won’t be easy but Afghanistan will hope their leading wicket-taker (17 wickets in 13 games) this year, left-arm quick Fazalhaq Farooqi, can get the big fish.
Livingstone vs Rashid Khan
Liam Livingstone hasn’t shied away from smacking some of the top bowlers, including not so long ago, Rashid Khan. In the recent season of The Hundred, Livingstone had dispatched Khan for three consecutive sixes. The matchup between the two does favor the Englishman, who has scored 115 runs against Rashid at a strike rate of 176.92 but the latter has dismissed Livingstone four times. Khan remains their match-winner but teams tend to play Khan cautiously so the onus will fall on the rest of the bowlers to excel as a unit.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz vs Mark Wood
In a Super Four game of the Asia Cup against Sri Lanka, Gurbaz showed what he is capable of upfront. He blazed away to 84 off 45 with six sixes and four fours. But the going will be tough against England’s fastest Mark Wood. Lining up and clearing the boundary against someone who bowls close to 95 miles per hour won’t be easy.
England: Having toured Australia just ahead of the tournament for three T20Is, England won the series 2-0 with the final match being abandoned due to rain.
Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s last three T20I outings were at the Asia Cup, where they lost all three of their Super 4 games to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India.
In their last three T20Is, England have cleared the ropes a total of 19 times whereas Afghanistan have smacked 17 sixes in their previous three.
England: Jos Buttler (c & wk), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai,Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Mohammed Nabi (c), Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Fareed Ahmad Malik, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Naveen ul Haq