New Delhi: Pakistan need to beat Afghanistan at Headingley on Saturday to displace England and inch closer to securing its ICC Men's Cricket World Cup semi-finals berth.
After going down in its initial matches, Pakistan made a solid comeback in the World Cup standings as they defeated New Zealand and moved up to sit in the sixth place with seven points. Pakistan are trapped in two must-win matches to enter the knock out stage.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, are placed in the bottom without any point as they have not won a single match in their seven fixtures so far. Pakistan would aim to move up and secure the fourth position in the standings. For Afghanistan, although the match will have no consequence, they would target Pakistan to earn points in their pride game.
Following are the key players who can make the tables turn:
Pakistan pacer Amir, who did not find a spot in the initial 15-member squad announced, proved his worth in the team as he took five wickets against Australia and conceded just 30 runs from his 10 over quota. He then went onto take three Indian wickets and two South African wickets, respectively. Amir has 16 wickets under his belt in the tournament so far.
Babar has been a brilliant player for Pakistan in the last couple of years and the stats do the talking for him. He played an amazing knock of 63 runs against the hosts England in their second World Cup match and helped his side beat England by 14 runs. Babar went onto complete his century against New Zealand in his recent outing for Pakistan. The right-hander scored 101 not out to defeat New Zealand and keep the semi-finals hope alive.
Nabi strengthens Afghanistan's bowling attack as the 34-year-old provides experience to the squad. He bagged four wickets against Sri Lanka and then picked up two wickets against India. The Afghan all-rounder can also add some runs with his bat when required by the team. He nearly helped his side to chase India's score of 225. Nabi has scalped seven wickets so far in the tournament.
The Afghan skipper possesses the ability of bowling as well as batting. He is a vital member of the squad as he can bat at any number and is a regular bowler of the team. Naib picked up three wickets against England, scalped two wickets each against India and Bangladesh, respectively.