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It's already been around two weeks into the Afghanistan Premier League and we're coming off just the second break of the tournament highlighting the jam-packed schedule of this T20 tournament. The competition will resume with Kandahar Knights taking on Kabul Zwanan on 16th October at Sharjah Cricket Ground. Kandahar Knights have been terrible thus far with just one win in five games and every game hereon will be a do or die match for them. Kabul, on the other hand, lost their previous match against the Balkh Legends, but are still sitting pretty in the top half of the points table. Regardlessly, they'd like to come back to the winning ways as momentum can play a key role with the business end of the tournament not far away.
After getting off to a terrific start and being at the top of the table at one stage, Kabul Zwanan appears to have lost their way. They've now lost two games in a row due to which they've dropped down to number three in the points table. Bowling first in their previous match, against Balkh Legends, their bowlers were erratic on a road-like surface as they conceded 244 runs in 20 overs.
However, despite the loss, their effort with the bat was lauded by one and all as they fell just 21 runs short while chasing a mammoth total. Hazratullah Zazai has been in terrific form for them and he played yet another brilliant innings as he scored 60 off just 17 deliveries. He also registered his name along with the greats in the record books as he smashed six sixes in an over.
There bowling has been under the pump multiple times in the tournament and expectedly it looked listless in the last match as well. Barring Rashid Khan and Wayne Parnell, they do not have anyone experienced in their bowling attack which has hurt them in crunch situations. Even Rashid Khan was not spared in the previous match as he returned with the figures of 1 for 40 in his four overs. Considering the growing competition among the teams, it's high time that their bowlers pull themselves up and do better here onward.
Hazratullah Zazai, Luke Ronchi, Colin Ingram, Laurie Evans, Afsar Zazai, Younas Ahmadzai, Shahidullah Kamal, Rashid Khan, Farid Malik, WD Parnell, Zahir Shirzad.
The Knights had a terrible run until the conclusion of their last match where they just managed to defend a low temple against Nangarhar Leopards. Despite that win, they stand at the brink of exit from the tournament and need to win every game hereon.
Despite the presence of star players in Brendon McCullum, Asghar Afghan, and Paul Stirling in their lineup, the batting has been their weakest link. Their top-five have failed in almost every game and will need to do well in the upcoming games.
In contrast to their batting, their bowling has done particularly well. Despite scoring just 137 runs in their last match, they ended up on the right side of the result in their last match. Riki Wessels, Najibullah Zadran, and Karim Janat played little cameos to help them with the bat and then their bowlers did the job perfectly to wrap Leopards up for just 110.
PR Stirling, Karim Sadiq, Brendon McCullum, Asghar Stanikzai, Riki Wessels, Nasir Jamal, N Zadran, Karim Janat, Mohammad Naveed, Sayed Shirzad, Waqar Salamkheil.
More often than not the team winning the toss has decided to bat second in this tournament and we don't expect the captain winning the toss to go against the trend in the upcoming game as well.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
We saw a belter of a surface in the last match were more than 400 runs were scored. Although the weather here has been on the warmer side, the timing of the matches has more often than not almost nullified the effect of heat in the daytime. The surface, once again, is expected to be a treat for the batsmen. The team bowling first will fancy chasing anything less than 180.
The competition in this series has been so intense that no team can really be written off and it was validated by Knight's win the other day. It's a match between the batting of Kabul Zwanan and Kandahar's bowling. Zazai has been brutal in last few matches for Kabul along with Ronchi and Evans. They bat deep with Rashid Khan available to bat at number seven. On the other hand, the Kandahar will need something special from their batsmen which seems to be improbable. Therefore, Kabul Zwanan are better placed to emerge on top in this important encounter.