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17 Oct 2018 by Rob Esteva

2018 Afghanistan Premier League – Balkh Legends vs Nangarhar Leopards Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Wednesday 17th October, 13:00 (UK)

Where? Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Weather? Scorching temperatures of 34-36c expected

What channel is it on? Balkh Legends vs Nangarhar Leopards will be televised live on FreeSports

Where can I stream the match? Balkh Legends vs Nangarhar Leopards 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 are sitting pretty at the top of the standings after five wins from their six matches and they come off a stunning match in which they hit 244/6 against Kabul Zwanan at the weekend and won by 21 runs.

  • The Universe Boss Chris Gayle found some form smashing 80 in that match to get them off to a blistering start but they used the match to rotate their team with the likes of Munro, Bopara and Ten Doeschate all being held out.

  • Competition for places is strong at the moment in the batting line-up and they have a wealth of options with Rasooli and Munaweera coming in and impressing so the line-up remains strong even if they do decide to give playing time to other members of the squad ahead of the semi-finals.

NANGARHAR LEOPARDS

Coach: Venkatesh Prasad

Captain: Ben Cutting

  • The Leopards have lost their last two matches having been bowled out for 110 by the Knights and 126 by the Panthers so they have to pick themselves up quickly to try and pick up another win and avoid allowing the Knights to catch them in these remaining few matches now.

  • Their batting has let them down badly in recent matches and that simply has to improve here if they are to have any chance of competing against the strongest batting line-up in the entire tournament.

  • Andre Russell seems unlikely to be able to return due to injury so they will need another big performance from Anton Devcich, while skipper Ben Cutting has to produce the goods to give their talented bowling attack that now includes Lamichhane, something to defend.

THE PREDICTION

The Balkh Legends have been the best team in the APL so far but they have nothing to play for here so we may see them ease off the gas. That said, that was the case last time out against Kabul Zwanan and they smashed a staggering 244/6. The Leopards' strength clearly lies in their bowling attack and Lamichhane and company will cause the Legends more problems than most teams. However, their fragile batting line-up is struggling badly for form and the chances of them being able to keep up with their opponents seems remote. Barring complacency and wholesale changes to the Legends team, it is hard to make a case for the Leopards in this one.

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