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18 Oct 2018 by Rob Esteva

2018 Afghanistan Premier League – Balkh Legends vs Kandahar Knights Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Thursday 18th October, 13:00 (UK)

Where? Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Weather? Temperatures of 35-36c expected

What channel is it on? Balkh Legends vs Kandahar Knights will be televised live on FreeSports

Where can I stream the match? Balkh Legends vs Kandahar Knights will not be streamed live in the UK

Are tickets still available? https://www.q-tickets.com/apl/eventlist

THE TEAM NEWS

BALKH LEGENDS

Coach: Simon Helmot

Captain: Mohammad Nabi

  • The Balkh Legends lost just their second game of APL 2018 on Wednesday as they succumbed to the Nangarhar Leopards as they could only make 133/7 batting first in what was arguably their worst display with the bat in the tournament so far.

  • Chris Gayle was rested for that match but there is a chance he will come back into the team here although that would mean him playing three matches in four days if the Legends do make it to Sunday’s final.

  • They may consider making one or two other rotations to keep the team fresh but they will want to field a relatively strong team and get a win here to take some momentum into the semi-finals.

KANDAHAR KNIGHTS

Coach: Kabir Ali

Captain: Asghar Afghan

  • The Kandahar Knights produced a fighting display on Wednesday to chase down the Paktia Panthers’ total of 167/7 on the final ball and that gives them an outside of finishing fourth if they can win this match.

  • Skipper Asghar Afghan produced yet another impressive batting display as he stepped up to open the innings and he hit 74 from 42 balls to get them off to an excellent start and Wessels and Zadran chipped in with 22 and 23 respectively as they scraped the victory.

  • The Knights are playing with some momentum right now and plenty of urgency, with their bowlers raising their performances and doing well, but they still need greater contributions from the likes of Stirling and McCullum who continue to struggle with the bat.

THE PREDICTION

The urgency is with Kandahar Knights coming into this game as they have to win to reach the quarter-final stage due to having the better net run rate compared to the Nangarhar Leopards so they have it all to play for. Balkh Legends have been the best team in the group stage of the tournament but they showed some vulnerability on Wednesday as they eased off the gas and were beaten by the Leopards. They did rest Gayle for that match and he should return here, but anything other than 100% focus may see them struggle against such a motivated Knights team. On paper, they have the greater quality, but they have to match the Knights’ intensity otherwise another shock may be on the cards.

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