Pakistan vs Afghanistan: ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match preview

Both sides are in desperate need of a Cricket World Cup win, with the added spice of cross-border tensions.

Pakistan's captain Babar Azam flies through the air to catch a ball
Pakistan's captain Babar Azam attempts to catch a ball during a practice session ahead of the game against Afghanistan [Eranga Jayawardena/AP Photo]

Who: Pakistan vs Afghanistan
When: Monday, October 23, 2pm (08:30 GMT)
Where: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, India

Pakistan and Afghanistan renew their rivalry, often reflected in the stormy political relationship between the two neighbours, with both sides in desperate need of a win at the Cricket World Cup.

Pakistan started the World Cup with wins over the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, but the 1992 champions then suffered back-to-back losses to India and Australia. They have slipped to fifth in the 10-nation table with the top four going through to the semifinals.

“We have to admit we did not play well in those games,” Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq said on Sunday. “We were not up to the mark, did not get the execution right and defeat always lowers morale.”

Haq also played down the threat posed by Afghanistan’s spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi at a venue renowned as a slow bowlers’ paradise.

“We know this ground favours spinners and they have quality spin bowlers, but we have beaten them 3-0 recently in a one-day series in Sri Lanka under the same conditions,” said Haq.

“We all know Afghanistan is a good team and in these conditions they will be tough but we are ready for that and will execute our plans.”


Afghanistan pulled off a shock victory over defending champions England in the Cricket World Cup but have also slumped to three defeats.

Coach Jonathan Trott said on Sunday that the rivalry with Pakistan excites his Afghanistan team.

“I think it’s a rivalry that sometimes in the past has been very passionate,” he said.

“We’ve had very close games as well. Hopefully, tomorrow isn’t very exciting and we win by a lot. It’s just the nature of the rivalry, I should say.”

He added: “Both teams, I think, respect each other, but are very desperate to win.”

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Predicted XIs

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Usama Mir, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf.

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (C), Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq.

Head to head

Afghanistan are yet to beat Pakistan in one-day international cricket, with Pakistan winning all seven encounters between the two countries.

  • February 10, 2012: Sharjah – Pakistan won by 7 wickets
  • February 27, 2014: Fatullah – Pakistan won by 72 runs
  • September 21, 2018: Abu Dhabi – Pakistan won by 3 wickets
  • June 29, 2019: Leeds – Pakistan won by 3 wickets
  • August 22, 2023: Hambantota – Pakistan won by 142 runs
  • August 24, 2023: Hambantota – Pakistan won by 1 wicket
  • August 26, 2023: Colombo – Pakistan won by 59 runs


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies