With the ICC World Cup qualifiers inching closer, the Afghanistan cricket team seems to be all prepared. Just when everything seemed all right for them, in a sudden turn of events, Afghanistan Stanikzai their skipper has been ruled out of the first 10 days of the competition with appendicitis.
Rashid Khan, the young leggie will now shoulder the responsibilities of captaining the side in his absence. Rashid Khan has already made a name for himself in franchise T20 cricket all around the world. However, leading a national team and that too in a knockout tournament is a different cup of tea altogether.
Afghanistan start their campaign against Scotland at Bulawayo on 4th March, before which they play two warm-up games against West Indies and the Netherlands on 27th February and 1st March, respectively, in Harare.
Stanikzai has played 83 ODIs so far and has scored 1565 runs at an average of 21.14. Afghanistan will hope for a swift return of their regular skipper as they aim to seal a spot in the 2019 World Cup.
With the top 8 teams making a direct entry into the tournament, two spots are up for grabs. Afghanistan and West Indies looks like the favorites to advance to the main round, however, on their day, any of the underrated teams can make a turnaround.
The 10 teams taking part in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 are split into two groups of five teams. The Windies, Ireland, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and winners of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 make up Group A, while Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong and runners-up of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 form Group B.
Here is the complete list of matches for the tournament.
Tournament Proper (first round)
Sunday, 4 March – PNG v WCL Div.2 winner, HSC; Ireland v Netherlands, OH; Zimbabwe v WCL Div.2 (runners-up), Queens Sports Club (QSC); Afghanistan v Scotland, BAC
Tuesday, 6 March – PNG v Ireland, HSC; Windies v WCL Div.2 (winner), OH; Zimbabwe v Afghanistan, QSC; Scotland v Hong Kong, BAC
Thursday, 8 March – Netherlands v WCL Div.2 (winner), HSC; Windies v PNG, OH; Scotland v WCL Div.2 (runners-up), QSC; Afghanistan v Hong Kong, BAC
Saturday, 10 March – Windies v Ireland, HSC; PNG v Netherlands, OH; Zimbabwe v Hong Kong, QSC; Afghanistan v WCL Div.2 (runners-up), BAC
Monday, 12 March – Windies v Netherlands, HSC; Ireland v WCL Div.2 (winners), OH; Hong Kong v WCL Div.2 (runners-up), QSC; Zimbabwe v Scotland, BAC
Thursday, 15 March – A1 v B1, HSC; A3 v B3, QSC; A5 v B4 (play-off), OH; A4 v B5 (play-off), KK
Friday, 16 March – A2 v B2, HSC
Saturday, 17 March – 9th/10th position play-off, OH; 7th/8th position play-off, KK
Sunday, 18 March – A2 v B3, HSC
Monday, 19 March – A1 v B2, HSC
Tuesday, 20 March – A3 v B1, HSC
Thursday, 22 March – A1 v B3, HSC; A3 v B2, OH
Friday, 23 March – A2 v B1, HSC
Sunday, 25 March – FINAL, HSC