This feels like a big opportunity for both these sides to put some much-needed points on the board in the ODI Super League with the next world cup in India next year looming increasingly large. But will it be Afghanistan, playing ‘at home’ in Doha, or the Netherlands who come away with victory in the first match? Read on for our full Afghanistan vs Netherlands first ODI preview and prediction?
Afghanistan vs Netherlands First ODI Preview and Prediction
The Netherlands have scarcely played since a T20 World Cup campaign that ended in a disappointingly early exit in the first group stage after they lost all three matches. Considering the strength of their opposition – they did come up against Sri Lanka, but also played Ireland and Namibia – that will doubtless have been a frustration. So too, for different reasons, was their recent tour of South Africa. The first game was washed out before concern over the omicron variant saw the rest of the tour cancelled.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, had done enough to earn direct entry to the Super12 at the T20 World Cup, where they scored crushing victories over Scotland and Namibia, but lost the rest of their matches to crash out. They have not played since, with the extremely difficult conditions in Afghanistan doubtless contributing to that. Notably, Cricket Australia cancelled a proposed Test match between the sides due to the political situation in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan have rung the changes for this series. Keeper-batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz is in line to open the batting with Usman Ghani a potential partner for him at the top of the order. Rahmat Shah and newly installed captain Hashmatullah Shahidi will most likely bat at three and four, with Najibullah Zadran and Gulbadin Naib options in the middle order. Seam-bowling Azmatullah Omarzai is in line to make a comeback to the side as well after featuring in a lone ODI against Ireland last January.
Star man Rashid Khan is in the squad and it is his spin-bowling that will surely be the biggest concern for the Netherlands’ batters. He can, of course, also contribute handy lower-order runs if required. Mujeeb Ur-Rahman, also recently in BBL action, provides another spin-bowling option, with wrist-spinner Qais Ahmad also in line to play. Young guns Mohammad Saleem and Fazalhaq Farooqi provide seam-bowling options, as do the apparently out of favour Yamin Ahmadzai and Fareed Ahmad.
For the Netherlands, this series presents an opportunity to adjust to the absence of the long-serving Ryan ten Doeschate after his retirement following the T20 World Cup. Max O’Dowd, surely the leading batter in the side, is in line to open though his recent partner Stephen Myburgh is not in the squad. Wicket-keeper Scott Edwards is an option to replace him at the top of the order. Colin Ackerman, Bas de Leede and captain Pieter Seelar will be hoping to provide middle-order runs.
Boris Gorlee or Asad Zulfiqar could be in line for a debut with the Netherlands’ squad a little light on recognised batters. Vivian Kingma and Fred Klaasen will have the task of leading an inexperienced bowling attack, despite having just seven and nine matches respectively to their names in this format. Aryan Dutt is very raw, but does offer good variation with his ability to bowl seam and spin, whilst Philippe Boissevain showed promise in his only previous ODI outing with figures of 1/49.
At full strength, the Netherlands can be a difficult opponent to come up against, but this squad looks a little too light on experience in the absence of some of the side’s established names. Added to that is the fact that they will be playing in spinning conditions against some of the most effective white-ball spinners in the game led by Khan and it is hard to find many reasons to like their chances. This could be fairly one-sided.
Prediction: Afghanistan win.
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