IND vs AFG World Cup 2023, Match prediction: Why Afghanistan are unlikely to rattle Shubman Gill-less India's title bid
In their 2023 World Cup opener against Australia, Team India faced a high-pressure situation, with the duo of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul performing the rescue act with the bat. The top-order collapse makes it imperative for India to strive for a flawless performance against the Afghanistan side in the Wednesday's clash at the marquee tournament. As captain Rohit Sharma aptly pointed out, India's primary challenge during the league stage will be to adapt swiftly to the varying conditions across nine different venues.
After contending with a slow and spinning track at Chepauk in their previous match, the team is bracing itself for a potentially high-scoring encounter at the Feroz Shah Kotla. This ground recently witnessed an absolute run-fest during the match between South Africa and Sri Lanka last week, with over 700 runs being scored, emphasizing the need for a more adaptable approach.
To compound matters, India will have to manage without Shubman Gill, who is sidelined due to dengue. Ishan Kishan will once again have the opportunity to partner with Rohit at the top of the order. After both Ishan and Shreyas Iyer displayed questionable shot selection against Australia, they will be expected to apply those lessons wisely as they face Afghanistan, aiming to regain their winning momentum in the World Cup.
India start favourites
The Indian team undoubtedly starts as the favorites for the 2023 World Cup encounter against Afghanistan. Their high-quality batting lineup, though facing a minor hiccup against Australia, will be eager to stage a strong comeback against Hashmatullah Shahidi's men. Moreover, if the pitch at the Arun Jaitley Stadium remains as batting-friendly as the last encounter at the venue between South Africa and Sri Lanka, Afghanistan might find themselves in a precarious situation.
However, it would be unwise to underestimate Afghanistan, as they possess a formidable spin attack that can be a potent force in the match. Smarting from their recent loss to Bangladesh, Afghanistan will be determined to strike back in the World Cup and further establish their reputation as potential giant-killers in the tournament.
Afghanistan yet to beat India
While Afghanistan are yet to secure a win against India in ODIs, they have certainly managed to push the Indian team to the brink on a few memorable occasions. One unforgettable moment was in the 2019 World Cup group stage, where Afghanistan came tantalizingly close to a historic victory before Mohammed Shami's dramatic hat-trick in the final stages of the match turned the tide in India's favor.
Additionally, the two teams were part of a thrilling tied ODI encounter during the Asia Cup. This match gained extra significance as the legendary MS Dhoni made a surprise comeback to captaincy in the absence of Rohit Sharma. These close contests certainly suggest that Afghanistan has the potential to create upset wins.