Virat Kohli’s India will take on an upbeat Afghanistan in their bid to stay alive in the Twenty20 World Cup on Wednesday.
India started the tournament as favourites but crashed to two losses in the Super 12 stage and now need to win their final three group games and depend on others to have any chance of making the semi-finals.
Underdogs Afghanistan are second behind group leaders Pakistan in the table and another win would boost their hopes for a place in the final four.
Dream or despair?
— An Indian exit from the World Cup is always a shock for the fans, sponsors and broadcasters for the kind of TV viewing the cricketing giants attract during the tournament.
Kohli’s team has already faced abuse for losing two in two with the country’s cricket board accused of exhausting their players with the IPL having finished just two days before the start of the World Cup.
For Afghanistan, it will be a case of dreams realised if they beat India at the world stage which will add to their stunning rise from a handful of refugee players coming out of the war-torn nation to competing with the cricketing elite.
But talk on Afghanistan’s cricket often veers away to the political situation back home after the Taliban takeover but skipper Mohammad Nabi has cut short the chatter with focus on cricket and the World Cup.
“Let’s focus on cricket. We have come here to play the World Cup after preparing very well and with a lot of confidence,” Nabi said.