Five-time World Cup winners Australia will face Afghanistan in the 39th match of the ongoing tournament on Tuesday. The AUS vs AFG match will be played at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai from 2 PM IST onwards.
With seats filling up fast for World Cup semifinals, Australia will look to banish middle-order woes and secure a final-four spot against a fearless Afghanistan.
Only two places remain up for the taking with rampant India slated to finish atop the World Cup points table. South Africa have also qualified.
With no other team directly threatening Australia’s progression into the semifinals, Pat Cummins’ men would like to finish the job at the first given opportunity at the Wankhede Stadium — a venue that has been a paradise for batting but also supports the bowlers adequately if they are good enough to exploit the conditions.
Australia need only one win from their remaining two contests — against Afghanistan and Bangladesh — to become the third semifinalists and more importantly stay clear from the pack that is about to engage in a dogfight in the middle of the points table for the final spot.
Steve Smith on Monday hoped Australia are peaking at the right time given they have five wins on the trot in the World Cup.
“You do want to be peaking at the right time in the end, but obviously you need to do enough to make the semifinals. I think that would be the beauty of it if we were able to get there,” Smith told the media before Australia’s training session at the Wankhede Stadium.
“You know, we had a rough start, we lost two games and we have gradually, I guess, progressed as we have gone along and there are still areas we can work on,” said Smith, adding that even though all-rounders Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell are back to training, it remains to be seen if they get a nod for the contest on Tuesday.
For Afghanistan, who have lost all three ODIs to Australia including two in World Cups, it will be imperative to keep building on the success they have garnered in this edition.
With four wins in the last five matches, the Afghans have kept the semifinal dream alive but getting past Australia will be a humongous challenge, knowing that they are also required to improve the Net Run Rate in their respective last two league games.
Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi said on Monday the Afghanistan team has been motivated to a great extent by support from Indian fans during the World Cup, while adding that change in mindset has delivered more victories in this edition than any in the past.
“First of all, people back home like the way we are playing here right now. They are all feeling proud and they are very happy for our achievements,” Shahidi told the media.
“The Indian people (have) given us a lot of support throughout the tournament. They are coming to every game, into the stadiums, and they are supporting us. That also motivates us,” he added.
The AUS vs AFG World Cup 2023 match will be broadcast live on the Star Sports Network in India.
Disney+ Hotstar will livestream the Australia vs Afghanistan World Cup 2023 match on its app and website.
In Afghanistan, the AUS vs AFG World Cup 2023 match can be watched via:
Cricket fans in Australia can watch the match live on Fox Sports and Kayo.
David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Josh Inglis (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Noor Ahmad.
(With PTI inputs)