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T20 World Cup: Afghanistan v Australia match preview

Australia are a perfect five from five so far at the T20 World Cup and another victory over Afghanistan on Sunday would make all but certain of a semi-final spot.

Having opened their Super 8 campaign with a rain-affected 28-run victory over Bangladesh, the Baggy Greens know that they are just one more win away from moving on to the last four, as they bid to repeat their triumph of 2021.

Mitchell Marsh’s side have impressed with both bat and ball through the tournament to date, but will face a trial by spin when they take on the Afghans in St Vincent.

. What: Afghanistan v Australia
. Where: Arnos Vale, Kingstown, St Vincent
. When: 10:30 (AEST), Sunday 23rd June 2024
. How to watch: Prime Video
. Odds: Afghanistan 4.50, Australia 1.20

Aussies on top form all round

Australia have players in top form with both bat and ball, with opening pair Travis Head and David Warner, as well as all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, leading the way with the willow.

Veteran Warner starred against Bangladesh with an unbeaten 53, while Head has passed 30 in each of his last four innings, although between them the two-left-handers have only played one T20I against Afghanistan previously.

Stoinis was not required with the bat against the Tigers, but he has made 30 or more in his three innings in the tournament to date and has also impressed with the ball.

Warner, who retires from international cricket at the end of the tournament, is 4.00 to be Team - Top Batter on Sunday, with Head available at 2.10 to make 30+ runs at Arnos Vale.

With the ball it is almost like Test cricket as pace trio Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have all excelled, while leg-spinner Adam Zampa is every bit as crucial to this set-up as Nathan Lyon is to the red-ball team.

Cummins took centre stage by claiming a hat-trick against Bangladesh and bowling strength could be key at a venue where the previous highest total across three games at this venue in the tournament so far is 159-5.

Zampa remains the standout performer with the ball, having taken two wickets or more in four of the five matches Australia have played in the Caribbean and he is priced at 1.72 to take over 1.5 wickets against an Afghan side who are well-practiced in taking on spinners.

These two teams have only met once before in a T20I international and that came at the last T20 World Cup, in 2022, when Australia edged a four-run victory in a thriller at the Adelaide Oval.

Bowling is Afghanistan's strength

That one previous T20I clash between the two sides shows that Afghanistan cannot be overlooked, especially with the fine array of bowlers at their disposal.

Left-arm seamer Fazalhaq Farooqi has been a standout performer in the competition, taking 15 wickets, including 3-33 against India last time out, when he accounted for Rohit Sharma amongst his three victims.

Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan claimed 3-26 in that same game, with India eventually prevailing by 47 runs due to yet another superb bowling display.

Rashid almost dragged his side to victory in that only previous 20-over meeting with Australia, smashing an unbeaten 48 from just 23 balls after taking 1-29 from his four overs of high-class variations.

Rashid is 2.62 to take over 1.5 wickets against Australia, while he is 12.00 to be named as Player of the Match.

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