Afghanistan - World Cup 2023 Team Preview

Afghanistan will be making their 3rd consecutive appearance in an ODI World Cup. They were eliminated in the group stages during the previous two editions, and not many expect them to fare better. 

The 2023 Cricket World Cup, though, is being played in India, in conditions that will favor the Afghan spinners and allow their own batters to play with some confidence. The team will look to make the most of this opportunity and give a tough contest to the heavyweights.

Afghanistan put up a good performance during the Super League, winning 11 of the 15 matches they featured in. As a result, they finished 7th on the points table, ahead of teams like South Africa, Sri Lanka, and West Indies. 

However, their performance in the recent Asia Cup was less than ideal as they failed to make it to the Super Four stage.

Let us have a look at the squad and some of the strengths and weaknesses of the same.

Current ODI Ranking: 9th (As on 15th September 2023)

Form in ODI Cricket Over the last 2 Years: Played 23, Won: 11, Lost: 11, NR: 1



Ibrahim Zadran

Najibullah Zadran

Riaz Hassan

Hashmatullah Shahidi (C)


Rahmat Shah

Mohammad Nabi

Rashid Khan

Azmatullah Omarzai


Rahmanullah Gurbaz

Ikram Alikhil


Abdul Rahman

Noor Ahmad

Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Naveen Ul-Haq

Fazalhaq Farooqi


The highlight of Afghanistan’s squad is undoubtedly its spin attack. It is a good mix of seasoned campaigners, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, as well as young talents Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad. 

Rashid is one of the best spinners in the world at the moment and can have devastating effects on the slower pitches of India. He, along with Nabi, also bring depth to the batting, thanks to their clean striking. 

The opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran will be the other big plus for the team. Both of them are in good form of late and score quick runs during the Powerplay. Afghanistan’s batting is top-heavy but the emergence of two or three world-class batters is a very positive sign and immediately makes the team a lot more dangerous.


The middle-order batting could be a problem for the Afghan team. The likes of Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, and Najibullah Zadran, while being good players, haven’t been consistent enough in the recent outings. 

The pace attack also looks a bit weak. Azmatullah Omarzai and Abdul Rahman have both played less than 15 ODIs to date, while Naveen Ul-Haq played his last List A game back in 2021. 

This leaves Fazalhaq Farooqi as the only quality option. Afghanistan’s performance in the previous World Cups hasn’t been that good too, as the team has won just 1 of the 15 matches played at the marquee event.

A lack of experience in big events and insufficient exposure of having played the ODI format are things that will hold Afghanistan back. They will need a lot of things to go right to be able to pull off an upset against the top four ranked ODI teams.

Scheduled matches

 7-10-23 Afghanistan vs Bangladesh HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala

11-10-23 Afghanistan vs India Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi

15-10-23 Afghanistan vs England Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi

18-10-23 Afghanistan vs New Zealand MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

23-10-23 Afghanistan vs Pakistan MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

30-10-23 Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka MCA Stadium, Pune

3-11-23 Afghanistan vs Netherlands Ekana Stadium, Lucknow

7-11-23 Afghanistan vs Australia Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

10-11-23 Afghanistan vs South Africa Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

Do the World Cup 2023 Venues Suit Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has four matches at venues that have been traditionally favorable to spinners or offer a slow surface (Delhi and Chennai). That should give it a lot of hope of causing more than a couple of upsets. 

These matches come in the middle of the World Cup campaign and so the pitches might be a bit tired. Playing New Zealand in Chennai and England in New Delhi could make for tantalizing contests!

Afghanistan also has a lot of experience playing in Lucknow, a former ‘home’ venue for it but it plays the Netherlands there, a match it would expect to win anywhere. We see Afghanistan struggling on venues where batting firepower and depth will come into the picture.

Injury updates

Most of the players are fit at the moment. Azmatullah Omarzai, who has been included as an all-rounder, suffered a side strain during the recent Asia Cup match against Pakistan and is recovering from the same.

Top run-scorer for 2023

Ibrahim Zadran is the leading run-scorer for Afghanistan this year. He has scored 478 runs so far at an average of 47.80. He has scored 4 half-centuries and a century so far.

Top wicket-taker for 2023

Fazalhaq Farooqi has taken 15 wickets in 11 matches at a bowling strike rate of 31.53.

Betting predictions

Top run-scorer: Rahmanullah Gurbaz

Opening the batting alongside Ibrahim Zadran, Gurbaz is a good striker of the ball and can score some quick runs during the Powerplay. He made his IPL debut earlier this year and knows the conditions well, which will be an advantage for him.

If Gurbaz gets on a roll, he can hit some massive scores very quickly and that makes him an excellent pick.

Top wicket-taker: Rashid Khan

The previous World Cup wasn’t the best for Rashid as he picked up just 6 wickets back then. However, as he now returns to the subcontinent pitches, Rashid has an excellent chance to work his magic. He has taken 23 wickets in his 13 ODI appearances in India, which is the most for him in any host country. We are therefore backing him to be the top wicket-taker for Afghanistan.

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