Toss England chose to bat v Afghanistan
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James Vince came in for Alex Hales, who is out with a stiff back © Getty Images
England have won the toss and elected to bat in their World T20 match against Afghanistan in Delhi.
James Vince came into the England side for Alex Hales, who has a stiff back, while Liam Plunkett was preferred to Reece Topley, who has the worst economy rate – 13.20 runs per over – of the England bowlers in the two matches so far. The relatively grassy surface at the Feroz Shah Kotla convinced England to pick a seamer in Plunkett, ahead of the extra spin of Liam Dawson, though the pitch may well still assist the spinners.
Asghar Stanikzai, the Afghanistan captain, admitted that he, too, would have chosen to bat. Afghanistan made one change, with Shafiqullah, who played against Sri Lanka, coming back to strengthen the batting, in place of a bowler in Dawlat Zadran, the right-arm medium pacer.
This is the first T20I at the Feroz Shah Kotla, but an average IPL score on the pitch is just over 160.
While England’s record against Associate nations in the World T20 allows them no room for complacency – they were defeated by the Netherlands in 2009 and 2014 – they will also be aware that they require not only a victory, but one that significantly increases their net run-rate. England are currently equal on points with South Africa and Sri Lanka, but have an inferior NRR; it remains possible that they win their final two games in Group 1 and still suffer elimination due to it. They achieved the highest score in their T20I history against South Africa.
Afghanistan’s aim is more straightforward. After pushing South Africa and Sri Lanka pretty hard in their first two Super 10 games, they would want to go a step further and inflict a historic defeat on a well-established Test nation. And if that comes against one of the so-called “Big Three”, then all the better.
England 1 Jason Roy, 2 James Vince, 3 Joe Root, 4 Jos Buttler (wk), 5 Eoin Morgan (capt), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 Liam Plunkett 11 David Willey.
Afghanistan 1 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2 Noor Ali Zadran, 3 Asghar Stanikzai (capt), 4 Mohammad Nabi, 5 Gulbadin Naib, 6 Shafiqullah 7 Samiullah Shenwari, 8 Najibullah Zadran, 9 Rashid Khan, 10 Amir Hamza, 11 Shapoor Zadran.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo