ICC World T20 Day Five: Zimbabwe and Afghanistan battle for place in next round

Hamilton Masakadza of Zimbabwe bats during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe at The Gabba on March 1, 2015 in Brisbane, Australia.

We’ve reached the final round of Group B and as expected Zimbabwe and Afghanistan face off for a place in the next round. Who will prevail?

With two rounds of matches in the books, the early predictions have been proven correct and Zimbabwe and Afghanistan will face off for a place in the tournament proper. Zimbabwe had to work hard for their win over Scotland, while their opponents tomorrow comfortably chased down Hong Kong’s total with six wickets to spare.

Zimbabwe v Afghanistan

After two wins each, both teams will be confident of their chances of reaching the next round. Afghanistan have been particularly impressive in their opening two fixtures, with both batsmen and bowlers operating at a high level. Zimbabwe relied on a four wicket spell from Wellington Masakadza to defeat Scotland. Their batsmen have yet to fully hit their stride so far and will need to improve against a talent group of bowlers.

Key Players

Hamilton Masakadza (Zimbabwe): Masakadza hasn’t set the world on fire yet, but Zimbabwe’s premier player will need to up his game in this crucial fixture. He came into the tournament in excellent form so a big score should be just be round the corner. He averages over 30 in T20 internationals and is capable of producing a big innings.

Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan): Shahzad has managed over a hundred runs in his first two innings during the competition, getting his side off to a flyer in each match. A third straight success with the bat could see his side through to the next phase.

Scotland v Hong Kong

Both sides have nothing but pride to play for after losing their opening couple of games. One would expect the Scots, who took both the other sides in the group to the final couple of overs, would prevail but anything can happen in these meaningless rubbers.

Key Players

Ryan Campbell (Hong Kong): The former Australian international should his pedigree with a couple of wickets against Afghanistan. Despite his advanced age he remains a quality performer and one of the key members of this side. He also gets to go against some Scottish opening bowlers that have struggled to keep the runs down.

Alasdair Evans (Scotland): Evans has picked up 3 wickets in the first two games –  at an average of around 17. While some of the other bowlers have struggled he’s been reasonably consistent. He also picked up 4/41 in the most recent one day international between the two sides.

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