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Adam Zampa
Cricket World Cup

Zampa backs Afghanistan to pack a punch or two at CWC19

Afg v Aus, CWC19, reaction

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who returned 3/60 in Australia's opening victory over Afghanistan in ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 at the Bristol County Ground, believes that the Asian side have the potential to cause upsets in the tournament.

The defending champions strolled to an seven-wicket win, but the contest – especially the first innings – was tighter than the final scorecard suggested. Afghanistan's batting innings was a topsy-turvy effort, as they folded for 207 in 38.2 overs.

While they lost their openers – Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai – for ducks, and kept losing wickets in clusters, their middle-order came good, taking them to the second highest first-innings total in the tournament so far.

Video cwc19 01 Jun 19
CWC19: AFG v AUS - Zampa praises 'fearless' Afghanistan

Zampa believes Afghanistan have a lot to offer in the remainder of the tournament, and lavished praise on their fearless approach. "I think they are going to cause some upsets," he said after the match.

"They came out today and played some fearless cricket. They could have been in their shell, but everyone has been talking about them so much lately about how much they have improved and, to be fair, they have.

"They lost wickets at times when they wouldn't have wanted to, but the middle order came out and kept swinging and playing shots. The wicket today probably didn't suit them as much as it might later down the track. The ball skidded on a bit."

Video cwc19 01 Jun 19
CWC19: AFG v AUS - Match highlights

The 27-year-old added that Afghanistan have the ability to defend relatively lower totals in the competition thanks to their star-studded bowling attack; Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi are in the top five of the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Rankings for all-rounders, while Mujeeb ur Rahman slots in at No.12 on the bowling chart

"With the aggressive mindset with the bat, if they can get anywhere around the 250, 260, 270, with their bowling attack later down the track in the World Cup they definitely will cause some upsets," he said. "The wicket today probably didn't suit them as much as it might later down the track. The ball skidded on a bit."

Gulbadin Naib, the Afghanistan captain, agreed with the Australian spinner. "The pitches here are expected to be batting-friendly at the start of the tournament," he said. "On wickets like this and in smaller grounds, it's really difficult for bowlers. However, I'm sure that if our bowling attack gets even minor help from a track, even 200 is too big a target for our opposition."

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