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|Ziaur Rahman Sharifi||4.0||0||40||3||10.00|
With a heart-breaking loss in their previous match, Kandahar Knights lost an opportunity to rise up in the points table and displace Nangarhar Leopards to get to the fourth place. They, however, still have an opportunity to finish in the final four and qualify to the playoffs. They meet Paktia Panthers in their next game which is to be played at the same venue on 17th October 2017. Paktia Panthers, on the other hand, have been in superb form and are currently at the top of the table. They've won four out of six matches in this season and it won't be easy for Kandahar Knights to topple them. With high-stakes involved for the Knights, we expect it to be yet another thrilling game of Cricket in Afghanistan Premier League.
Kandahar Knights couldn't have gotten off to a worse start than they did in the tournament, but thanks to Nangarhar's poor performance and their recent win against the same team, they still have a chance to qualify for the semifinal. They need to win both their remaining games, against Panthers and against Legends, to qualify.
It continued to be a same old story for Asghar Afghan led Kandahar Knights in their last match as well. Their batsmen failed to fire while their bowlers had to play catch-up cricket to restrict Kabul Zwanan from chasing the total. Asghar Afghan opened the innings for them to strengthen their top-order and the move worked out brilliantly for them as he smashed a splendid half-century. However, no one except him was able to get going which resulted in a mediocre score for the Knights.
Unlike their batsmen, their bowlers have been pretty fluent. They got close to defending a subpar score in their last match and have regularly choked the opposition's batting in the middle overs. We are likely to see them field the same combination as their last game. Their overall performance has been dismal so far, but they've improved massively over the past few games and the Panthers would not be taking them lightly.
PR Stirling, Asghar Stanikzai, Brendon McCullum, Nasir Jamal, N Zadran, Riki Wessels, Karim Janat, Karim Sadiq, Mohammad Naveed, Sayed Shirzad, Waqar Salamkheil.
The Panthers are sitting comfortably at the top half of the table and while a loss won't hurt their semifinal chances, they'd not want to lose the momentum going into the business end of the tournament. However, the situation can get interesting if Nangarhar Leopards and Kandahar Knights manage to win both of their remaining matches.
Mohammad Shahzad has continued to build on his brilliant innings in recently concluded Asia Cup where he smashed a scintillating century. He has provided Panthers with a flying start on almost all occasions and his partnership with Ihsanullah Janat has been superb. Their batting is backed up the likes of Cameron Delport, Samiullah Shenwari, and Sikandar Raza to follow which makes it a batting powerhouse.
Although their bowling appears to be a little low on experience, Isuru Udana has done extremely well to take them out of pressure-cooker situations. Udana has troubled one and all with his variations and has been superb at the death. Shahid Afridi, too, has done decently done the order and can be a game changer with both bat and the ball.
M Shahzad, Ihsanullah, C Delport, Samiullah Shenwari, Calum MacLeod, Fazal Zazai, S Prasanna, Isuru Udana, Yousuf Zazai, Tahir Adil, Ziaur Rahman Sharifi.
Although it's a pressure game for both the sides and teams prefer to bat first in such games, the captain winning the toss here is more likely to bowl first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The heat of Sharjah has started to show it's effect on the surface. While the first of the tournament was dominated by some towering scores, the second half has been a little more bowler-friendly. It's a night game and dew will be a factor worth considering. The team batting first should be looking to score a total in upwards of 170.
With knockouts coming nearer with every passing game, the business end of Afghanistan Premier League's league stage is getting exciting. A win for Kandahar here could make things pretty interesting as far as the points table is concerned. Going by the way the teams have performed in the tournament so far, the Paktia Panthers are better placed to win this important encounter with an excellent battery of hard-hitting batsmen coupled with in-form bowling attack.
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