Afghanistan, who are out of the race for a semi-final berth in the T20 World Cup 2022, will go into their final match on Friday, against Australia, with injury concerns after star leg-spinner Rashid Khan twisted his knee earlier this week.
Rashid struggled with his back and a knee problem in the game Tuesday against Sri Lanka, but assistant coach Rais Ahmadzai said Thursday he was “fine and training” and the side wanted to finish the tournament in style.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has not yet confirmed whether Rashid will play in Friday’s match, but soon after the star-cricketer was helped off the field on Tuesday, the ACB said:
“The team’s Doctor reports that he has considerably improved from the time he was rushed into the ground. Rashid is currently under the supervision of the ACB’s medical team and is expected to be fully fit soon.”
Ahmadzai meanwhile said Friday’s match against Australia will be a particularly difficult one.
“It’s really not an easy game for us, to play against Australia in Australian conditions, but we are here to give them a tough time,” said Ahmadzai.
“I think Australia will be under pressure because they want to win, and we are here to finish the tournament with a high morale.”
Afghanistan is not the only team with injury concerns as Australia captain Aaron Finch said Thursday he could pull out of his team’s Super 12 match against Afghanistan because of a hamstring injury.
Despite being on form on Monday with a 44-ball 63 in the win against Ireland, Finch was unable to field after feeling a “twinge” during Ireland’s innings.
Australia, the defending champions, will have to beat Afghanistan on Friday by a big margin to have any chance of making the semifinals as one of the two top teams in Group 1.
Third in Group 1, but level on five points with New Zealand and England, Australia’s fate will depend on other results even if they beat Afghanistan handsomely.