Afghanistan are sixth in the table with six points, level with Pakistan; The Netherlands is eighth with four points. Watch Holland v Afghanistan on Friday live on Sky Sports and Cricket Main Event from 8am, first ball at 8.30am
17:37 UK Thursday 2 November 2023
Jonathan Trott has hailed his Afghanistan team’s progress in ODI cricket during the World Cup and urged them to continue their good start in their “crucial” match against the Netherlands.
Afghanistan have been the surprise of the tournament so far with wins against traditional heavyweights Pakistan, Sri Lanka and defending champions England.
Head coach Trott praised the changes in Afghanistan’s batting where they became more patient in their approach and praised the attitude of the players towards the changes which allowed them to progress to the longer ball game.
He said: “I think it’s more about being a better all-rounder and thinking more about your all-round game. I think Afghanistan (players) will naturally grow up playing a lot more T20 cricket than any other format, so the skills for T20s are in. It’s about adding to that skill base.
“As you can see, 50-over cricket is a long time and you have to be able to ride the ebb and flow of the game,” added former England batsman Trott.
“The thing I’m really happy about the last game is we lost a wicket in the first game and you know Rahmat Shah was able to come on at number three and absorb that pressure but still score at a good pace.”
“So it shows the ability to absorb the pressure that you have to do in 50-over cricket at times, but also then step up at certain times.
“So wanting and trying to enable batters and give them the game and help them develop the game so they can have both sides: pressure, absorption, stroke rotation and of course acceleration and hitting boundaries,” Trott said.
With six points on the eve of their seventh match at the Cricket World Cup, Afghanistan are firmly set for a place in the semi-finals. However, apart from a win against the Netherlands on Friday, Afghanistan will be looking to improve on their lower net catch rate (0.718) compared to Pakistan (-0.024), who are currently level on points.
Despite the number of changes that could see Afghanistan progress to the semi-finals, Trott insists they must focus on themselves and continue their good performances against the Netherlands on Friday.
He said: “We are not going to reach the semi-finals by just talking about it. We have to play good cricket.”
“As long as we play good cricket we’ll give ourselves the best chance of doing that. That starts tomorrow and how well we start tomorrow will determine how well we finish.”
“It’s important that when it comes to World Cup matches, everything is different, different conditions. Pune is very different from Lucknow; Delhi is very different. So that’s the challenge of the World Cup, different conditions, different terrains, different climate.”
“So as long as we adapt well, we’re ready for tomorrow.”
Alikhil returned to the match against the Netherlands
Trott gave the injury boost as Afghanistan goalkeeper Ikram Alikhil, who picked up a finger injury in Monday’s win against Sri Lanka in Pune, is “available”.
Alikhil suffered a knock on the fifth ball of the second round when he was hit on the finger while trying to retrieve the ball, but left the ground in pain on Monday.
ICC Cricket World Cup Live
Friday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m
Afghanistan will take on the Netherlands, who are looking to boost their chances of reaching the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup.
Watch live on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 8am, first ball at 8.30am.
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