India are set to face Afghanistan in their third Super 12 match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi later tonight.

Team India is yet to win in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup, having lost against Pakistan and New Zealand respectively. India are set to face Afghanistan in their third Super 12 match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi later tonight. Notably, the Virat Kohli-led side began the T20 World Cup journey with a 10-wicket loss against Pakistan and then suffered an eight-wicket defeat against New Zealand. 

On the other hand, Afghanistan have been in good form in the ongoing tournament and have won two of their three fixtures. The Mohammad Nabi-led side claimed a win against Scotland and then lost to Pakistan, before sealing a crucial win over Namibia by 62 runs.

India are yet to find any sort of rhythm. They haven’t clicked as a unit with the bat and the bowling has been poor as well. Not just a win but sealing it by a massive margin can keep India’s hopes alive of earning a berth in the next round.

Here are the key player battles that might dictate the game.

Rohit Sharma vs Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Team India opener Rohit Sharma has been in poor form in the tournament after not quite impressing in the IPL as well. He has failed to get the side going in the powerplay overs. Against Pakistan, he was dismissed by Shaheen Afridi for a golden duck. During the defeat to New Zealand, he could only manage 14 off 14 balls, losing his wicket to Ish Sodhi. Against Mujeeb ur Rahman, he will be up against a tricky bowler who has done well in the tournament. Afghans will introduce spin early and Rohit has a difficult task. Mujeeb’s mystery spin will test Rohit’s mettle.

Virat Kohli vs Rashid Khan

Indian skipper Virat Kohli failed to get going against New Zealand after a valiant fifty versus Pakistan. Kohli’s impetus is huge and his runs will be key. Kohli can have a tough time against spin and Ish Sodhi had dismissed him in the previous game. Against Afghanistan, Kohli will be tested massively by wrist-spinner Rashid Khan. Rashid is one of the best T20I bowlers in the world and has claimed seven wickets so far in the tournament. Rashid enjoys bowling in the UAE and had a terrific IPL 2021 season as well.

Rishabh Pant vs Mohammed Nabi

India’s wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has found it tough to get going in the ongoing tourney so far. Against the Kiwis, the southpaw could only manage to score 12 runs off 19 balls. Pant’s impact in the middle overs could be huge and he needs to come out on top against Afghan veteran Mohammad Nabi. The right-arm spinner could tighten things in the middle overs and will aim to produce substance for his side. Meanwhile, Pant needs to read the situation better and play as per his strengths.

Afghanistan openers vs Jasprit Bumrah

Afghanistan cricket team openers Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai will be key in terms of handling their side a positive start. The duo will be up against top T20I specialist Jasprit Bumrah. The right-arm pacer can be lethal on any given day and will aim to unsettle the duo. With the other Indian bowlers struggling, the role of Bumrah becomes all the more important. If he can get quick wickets, India will be on the front foot.

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