Afghanistan's Rashid Khan (centre) and teammates celebrate the dismissal of Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup match in Dubai, UAE. Afghanistan face Namibia next and ought to beat them. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Afghanistan have been playing fearless cricket in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. They play with so much freedom that it’s terrifying for the opponents. So Namibia should be worried about the Group 2 game in Abu Dhabi tomorrow (Sunday).

Nobody expects Afghanistan to win the cup, and that has set them free. They pummelled Scotland in their opener and ran Pakistan close. And they will give a torrid time to the more fancied rivals.

Explosive openers

All the talk of sluggish pitches doesn’t seem to apply to Afghan batsmen. Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad are an explosive opening pair, and all the batsmen that follow are unafraid to hammer sixes even in the middle overs. And if the situation demands, they can graft too; captain Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib showed that on Friday.

The aggressive batting is backed by some potent bowling from the three spinners. Between Nabi, Mujib Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan, the 12 overs can be tricky for the opponents. Here’s where Afghanistan choke their opponents. Namibia should be wary of them; even good players of spin have struggled against the triumvirate.

Namibia too have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The qualification to the Super 12s is a victory in itself and the win over Scotland last week was the icing on the cake. They won’t have much illusions coming into the Afghan match. But Namibia simply won’t roll over: they have a bunch of talented left-arm seamers, although there won’t be a repeat of Ruben Rumpelmann’s triple strike in the opening over against Scotland. The Namibian spinners are unlikely to hassle the Afghan batsmen.

Suspect batting

The batting is suspect, considering their troubled chase of a low Scotland target. Captain Gerhard Erasmus, David Wise and JJ Smit have been among the runs in Round One, but Super 12s is on a different level. So Namibia batsmen have to step up their game.

Afghanistan handed Scotland a drubbing in Sharjah last week, and would look to repeat that against Namibia in Abu Dhabi. That’s a distinct possibility.