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SOUTHAMPTON: After days and days of darkish clouds and regular drizzle, sunshine finally made its presence felt on this part of the world. Friday used to be vibrant and sunny, nearly in the course of the day. Even the seagulls got here flying and turned around the Hampshire Bowl, as though to have fun the splendour of sunlight.


How the Indian staff must have cherished the sight of it. With their World Cup recreation in opposition to Afghanistan coming up right here on Saturday, it used to be important for the weather to beef up so that the game might be staged.

India don't seem to be handiest having a look on the two issues from this recreation, but in addition a significant growth in the internet run fee with a watch on the semifinal qualification order. The met forecast for game-day is good and a full contest must ensue. The flooring, despite the fact that, used to be still wet and needed some extra drying up for it to be risk-free for the avid gamers.

While there used to be some suspense over Vijay Shankar's fitness, he gave the look to be match-ready after going through a fitness take a look at on Friday. Shankar mentioned he used to be feeling significantly better. Asked if he would have the ability to play on Saturday, the allrounder mentioned, "Yes, hopefully." Shankar used to be hit on his toe by a Jasprit Bumrah yorker on the nets on Wednesday.

India are set to field paceman Mohammed Shami in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who's nursing a hamstring niggle. It's tough to look how and where Afghanistan can hurt India. It's a match-up between one of the most absolute best groups in the competition in opposition to the weakest one.

To make it worse, the hammering Eoin Morgan gave the Afghanistan bowlers in their last recreation at Old Trafford would have depleted their morale even further. Their poster boy and major strike weapon, Rashid Khan, used to be clobbered for 110 runs off his 9 overs, the worst-ever bowling efficiency in the World Cup.

But cricket will also be slippery industry and a staff has to protect in opposition to complacency. The good thing with this India side is that it's a process-driven professional unit, very targeted on the task. It seems extremely not likely that it's going to allow Afghanistan any elbow room.

To beef up the run fee, it's better to bat first and publish a huge overall on the board. However, run making has not been simple on the Hampshire Bowl.

The Indian bowlers had South Africa tied in knots right here in their World Cup opener. Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar had made the brand new ball talk, and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal used to be incisive. A humongous overall - 350 or past - will not be imaginable right here.

The turn side is that Afghanistan batsmen should face tough questions of various hues and dimensions, such is the range in the Indian attack. It shall be attention-grabbing to look how Rashid comes again after the England nightmare. His captain Gulbadin Naib feels that he will be all proper. "Any player can have a bad day. But Rashid is strong in the mind and he is a quick learner."

Virat Kohli and Co will come onerous at Afghanistan. Can Afghanistan repel the rate? Can they have one good day on the World Cup? Seems not likely but hope floats everlasting.

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