Afghanistan eye Super Eight spot against nearly-men PNG

Match detailsTarouba, 8.30pm local

Can Norman Vanua help PNG to their first win of the tournament?ICC/Getty Images

Seamer Norman Vanua is PNG’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is. The team felt his absence in the opening game of the tournament. But he made a successful return against Uganda, his 2 for 19 keeping the side in the contest. With PNG harbouring hopes of their maiden win in the competition, all eyes will be yet again on Vanua.

Team news

Mujeeb Ur Rahman missed the last game with a hand injury. If fit, he could come in for Noor Ahmad, who bowled just the one over against New Zealand.

Afghanistan (probable XI): 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 2 Ibrahim Zadran, 3 Azmatullah Omarzai, 4 Gulbadin Naib, 5 Najibullah Zadran, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Karim Janat, 8 Rashid Khan (capt), 9 Noor Ahmad/Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 10 Naveen-ul-Haq, 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi

Expect PNG to field an unchanged team.

PNG (probable XI): 1 Assad Vala (capt), 2 Tony Ura, 3 Sese Bau, 4 Lega Siaka, 5 Hiri Hiri, 6 Charles Amini, 7 Kiplin Doriga (wk), 8 Chad Soper, 9 Norman Vanua, 10 Alei Nao, 11 John Kariko

Stats and trivia

  • Sese Bau needs 54 runs to become the fourth from PNG to a 1000 mark in T20Is.
  • No opening pair has added more runs than Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmanullah Gurbaz in T20Is in 2024.
  • Among those who have bowled at least 50 overs in T20Is since January 2023, Rashid Khan and John Kariko are the second- and the fifth-most economical bowlers.

Pitch and conditions

The surface in Tarouba played true to its sluggish nature during the game between West Indies and New Zealand. Because of rain in the lead-up to the match, some deliveries from good-length area outside off stump kept alarmingly low, and it was not easy to hit through the line. With the forecast for rain for Friday’s game, expect the pitch to become drier and aid more spin. The captain winning the toss is likely to bowl first because of the dew around.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7