Most people are looking at India's match against Afghanistan in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup as a one-sided affair holding not thrills nor excitement for the viewer. This is justified, based on current form and the quality of the two teams. But cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and Afghanistan, who are never guilty of lacking spirit, might just have a few tricks up their sleeve when they compete against India.
While other teams have managed to defeat the Afghans rather convincingly, the Indians may just find it a little harder to record a win in their match against them. The reason is simple: Afghan spinners like Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan have enlarged their profile through great performances in T20 leagues like IPL. The experience of bowling to Indian batsmen is not as rare for them as it would be for some other bowlers. Hence, the Afghans may just be more confident while facing the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
If they are able to restrict the Indian batsmen, it's game on! Yes batting against the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav won't be easy. The latter will pose, possibly, the biggest threat. Upcoming teams seem to be especially vulnerable against mystery spinners. Kuldeep's guile may be too hard to handle for the Afghan batsmen. They have to find a way of not giving wickets to the chinaman bowler.
One option for Afghanistan may be to promote Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan up the order. Having more experience of batting against Kuldeep and co., due to IPL, they may be more endowed to see out the overs from India's KulCha combination.
The fact that Bhuvneshwar Singh is not playing may just give Afghanistan some relief. Yes, Mohammad Shami is not ordinary bowler. In fact, on his day, he could be as devastating as any one in the world. But coming into the team after missing the first few matches, he may just find it hard to get going. This is where Afghans may take advantage.
From India's point of view, this match will be an opportunity to further sharpen their edges. For one man, this game would hold great importance. KL Rahul batted well against Pakistan but didn't seem to have the fluency that usually characterises his play. He accepted in an interview that he was nervous due to being in the team after a long time. Now is the opportunity to show the his true qualify. He also needs to be more aggressive in order to be an adequate replacement for Shikhar Dhawan. Rest all seems to be fine with Men in Blue.