7 months ago

Afghanistan looking more favourite than a dark horse

Photo: ESPNCricinfo
Photo: ESPNCricinfo

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Afghanistan has always been famous for playing exciting cricket. When it comes to T20s, they are special. They challenge the very best teams in the game.

As a result, they're being tagged as the 'Dark Horse' before entering any tournament, including this Asia Cup T20.

Maybe there's a bit of a mistake here. This time they may not only be a dark horse but one of the favourites to win the trophy.

Traditionally, Afghanistan has become a threatening force in the format thanks to their spin attack. With the likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman, they arguably have the best spin attack for this format.

Along with that, Nabi and Rashid's all-round capability also gives them a huge edge. Mohammad Nabi is currently the No.1 all-rounder of the format. Overall, they already have 3 of the best in the business here.

Spin was never a problem for the Afghans. It was the quick bowling which didn't let them flourish beyond. 

It would be wrong to say they had no decent seam bowlers. But inconsistency, lack of performance on the big stages, and insufficient control over their skills cost them the most.

But the case seems different now. Their new rising star Fazalhaq Farooqi has been a gem of a find. His ability to swing with the new ball and crafty bowling has given them the fiery start they needed all these years.

On the other end, there is Naveen-Ul-Haq, who also makes life hard for the batters. Two of them, along with their spin trio, make a balanced and deadly bowling force for the game.

On the other hand, flair and explosiveness were never a problem. Their opening pair of Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaaz is full of those. However, their consistency is a matter of concern. But on their day, there's simply no stopping them when they get going. Such was the case against Sri Lanka. 

The middle order consisting of Karim Janat, Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran matches the experience and guiles of other teams. 

Apart from that, they have the likes of Usman Ghani, Hasmatullah Shahidi, and the experienced Samiullah Shenwari on their radar.  

Afghanistan are the only squad with two chinaman bowlers. If their bowlers do justice to themselves, their batters won't have to do much. Even if they need to, they are very much capable of doing it. 

This brilliant bunch is led by their amazing leader Mohammad Nabi -- who has a bulk of experience under his belt. It would be more expected than a surprise for Afghanistan to be the kings of Asia this time.

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