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T20 World Cup 2024: India to face Afghanistan in their first Super 8 match

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Virat Kohli will be aiming for a strong performance after a series of low scores as India faces Afghanistan in their first Super 8 match of the T20 World Cup on Thursday (20). Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav is also hoping for a chance to play.

A key question is whether India will stick with their successful group stage lineup or bring in Kuldeep, their top spinner over the past year. Skipper Rohit Sharma had earlier mentioned his preference to include all four all-rounders: Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Axar Patel, and Ravindra Jadeja.

This strategy worked well in New York’s bowler-friendly conditions, and the captain might keep the winning combination that strengthens the batting order up to number 8. To include Kuldeep, India would need to drop either Mohammed Siraj or Arshdeep Singh, with Siraj more likely to be benched.

The practice sessions suggest the pitch might favor spinners, which could increase Kuldeep’s chances. However, with a breeze at Kensington Oval, pacers might get some swing during the powerplay.

All eyes will be on Kohli, who hasn’t scored in double digits in the tournament yet. Despite his struggles in New York, he is expected to perform well on the better pitches in the Caribbean. Kohli’s dedication in training shows his strong work ethic.

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Shivam Dube, brought in for hitting sixes in the middle and death overs, has only managed one six so far. The pitches in the USA were challenging for him, but he hopes to do better in the Super 8s.

Suryakumar Yadav regained some form against the USA, which should boost his confidence. Hardik Pandya, while excellent with the ball, also needs to contribute with the bat.

Arshdeep Singh has been growing in confidence, effectively partnering with Jasprit Bumrah. With the pitch likely to support spinners, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja are expected to make a significant impact.

Afghanistan comes into the Super 8 after a heavy loss to the West Indies. Despite this setback, captain Rashid Khan remains confident, noting the team’s impressive campaign so far.

Left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 12 wickets, will be crucial for Afghanistan. Rashid Khan will also be key in the middle overs.

Afghanistan’s openers, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, will be vital to their batting success.

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