Afghanistan vs India – T20 World Cup 2024: Teams, weather, toss, Kohli form

India will be wary of the Afghan bowling attack and not take them ‘lightly’ in their Super Eight match in Barbados.

India's Virat Kohli reacts as he walks off the field after losing his wicket during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between United States and India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Virat Kohli has scored five runs in India's three T20 World Cup 2024 group games [Adam Hunger/AP]

Who: Afghanistan vs India
What: ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Super Eight
When: Thursday, June 20, 10:30am local time (14:30 GMT)
Where: Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
How: Follow Al Jazeera’s live coverage

When India and Afghanistan meet in their T20 World Cup Super Eight match at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, both teams will be met with different challenges.

Afghanistan have played all their group matches in the Caribbean, where their bowlers and opening batters have led them to three wins in four outings.

But Rashid Khan’s side will now face their toughest challenge as they face the top-ranked T20 team, whose bowlers could pose serious problems to Afghanistan’s middle-order batters.

However, Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott believes his side will not be overawed by the occasion nor the opponents in Thursday’s match and will take it on “like any [other] game”.

“We have still got our best game to come in us and hopefully that’s tomorrow,” Trott told reporters on Wednesday.

Trott admitted India will be favourites to win the game but that will also add pressure on Rohit Sharma’s team.

“We come in [to the game] perceived as underdogs, but [we are] fully prepared and ready for the battle that confronts us tomorrow.”

Will Afghanistan target Virat Kohli?

The former England batter asked about India’s star batter Virat Kohli, who has scored five runs in three games, but said his team will take the players’ records into account and “not just recent form”.

“All of them [Indian batters] are a threat. It would be naive to say that they are not, but I think that goes for all of our batters as well, just as much. So, anybody on their day can take the game away from you.

“But yes, obviously you do notice if [a player] hasn’t been in form and you look to find ways to exploit [it].”

United States' Saurabh Nethralvakar, right, celebrates the dismissal of India's Virat Kohli, left, during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match between United States and India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Virat Kohli walks off after being dismissed by United States’ Saurabh Nethralvakar in New York [Adam Hunger/AP]

India will not take Afghanistan ‘lightly’

Meanwhile, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid praised Afghanistan’s performance in the tournament thus far and said they are “a very dangerous team” in the T20 format.

“A lot of their players play in a lot of T20 leagues and are well-travelled cricketers,” Dravid said in his pre-match comments.

“They are deservedly in the Super Eights and we will not treat them any differently as we would treat any other team.”

The former middle-order batter said his team will be “flexible” in how they approach the game based on the situation and ground conditions.

“We have always been conscious of the concept of being able to have players who can be adaptable and float in that middle order if and when required.”

India will be wary of Afghanistan’s bowling attack, which is led by the tournament’s top wicket-taker Fazalhaq Farooqi in the pace department and Rashid in spin.

“Their bowlers are some of the most sought-after bowlers in this format across the world in different leagues,” Dravid said.

“We understand that that is going to pose a challenge to us and we are going to have to play well. We have got the skills, balance and depth in the squad to counter their bowling attack.”

Pitch condition and toss

While the pitch in Barbados has not been a bowler’s paradise, it has offered some assistance in holding back the run-scoring, with only one team – Australia – crossing the 200-run mark.

Teams winning the toss have chosen to field first in all five games at the venue thus far.

Weather forecast

The weather is not expected to have a big role to play as it is a rain-free forecast with partial cloud cover and humid conditions during the day.

INTERACTIVE - Men's T20 World Cup-stadiums-venues-map-2023 copy 2-1716469524
(Al Jazeera)

Head-to-head

India command a 7-0 lead over Afghanistan in their eight T20 encounters, while one game ended in a “no result”.

The 2007 champions won their home T20 series against Afghanistan 3-0 in January, while their last T20 World Cup encounter in 2022 ended in a massive 101-run win.

Form guide

Both teams have bagged three wins each in their four matches in the tournament so far, but India are unbeaten while Afghanistan were handed a hammering by hosts West Indies in their last outing.

Afghanistan have played all four of their group matches in the Caribbean, while this will be India’s first in the region.

Afghanistan: L W W W W
India: W W W W W

Afghanistan team news

Afghanistan are expected to field the same side that was handed a heavy loss by West Indies but also brought them three wins.

Squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan (captain), Karim Janat, Nangyal Kharoti, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik.

India team news

Despite the temptation of playing leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, India are unlikely to ring any changes in their playing XI from their last completed match against the USA.

Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.

Source: Al Jazeera