India and Afghanistan are set to face off in a thrilling three-match T20I series, starting on Thursday, January 11. This highly anticipated series will kick off at the iconic Mohali Stadium, before moving to Indore and concluding in Bangalore. It will be the first-ever T20I series between these two cricketing powerhouses.
The Return of Kohli and Sharma
The Indian team will witness the return of two of its star players, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who have been absent from the T20I side for 427 days. Rohit Sharma will lead the Men in Blue in their final T20I assignment before the T20 World Cup 2024. This series will provide an excellent opportunity for these players to showcase their skills and stake their claim for a spot in the World Cup squad.
Key Players Missing
While India will have the services of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, they will be without the likes of Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj, who have been rested for the series. Additionally, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya are still recovering from injuries. On the other hand, Afghanistan will be led by Ibrahim Zadran, and they have included the talented Mujeeb Ur Rahman in their squad.
This series holds immense importance for players vying for a spot in the T20 World Cup squad, as it provides them with an opportunity to showcase their talent before the IPL. Both teams will be eager to perform at their best and gain momentum leading up to the World Cup.
In the five matches played between India and Afghanistan, India has the upper hand with four victories, while one match ended in a no-result. However, it is worth noting that Afghanistan has enjoyed relative success in T20Is played in India, winning 17 out of the 22 matches they have played in the country.
Mohali Stadium Pitch Report
The Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, also known as Mohali Stadium, is renowned for its excellent batting track. However, it also offers some assistance to fast bowlers early on and becomes increasingly conducive to spin as the match progresses. The dew factor can come into play later on, potentially favoring the team batting second. This trend is expected to continue in the upcoming T20I.
T20I Stats & Records at Mohali Stadium
In the six T20I matches played at the Mohali Stadium, pacers have picked up 38 wickets at an average of 38.97, while spinners have claimed 22 scalps at an average of 28.95. Notably, teams chasing have won four matches, while teams defending have won two. The average first-innings score at Mohali is 183, and the highest successful chase is 211.
India vs Afghanistan Probable Playing XI:
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill/Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Sanju Samson (wk), Rinku Singh, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mukesh Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan/ Ravi Bishnoi
Afghanistan: Ibrahim Zadran (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sharafuddin Ashraf , Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad/Qais Ahmad
India vs Afghanistan T20I series promises to be an exciting encounter between two cricketing giants. With the return of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, the Indian team will be looking to make a statement before the T20 World Cup. However, Afghanistan's impressive record in T20Is played in India cannot be ignored, and they have players like Mohammad Nabi who can turn the game on its head.
Cricket fans around the world are eagerly waiting to witness the clash of these titans at the Mohali Stadium. The pitch conditions, past records, and key players make this series a must-watch for all cricket enthusiasts. So, mark your calendars and get ready for some thrilling T20I action between India and Afghanistan!