Fatullah: It would be a trial by fire for Afghanistan when the gutsy team from the strife-torn country make their Asia Cup debut against defending champions Pakistan, here, on Friday.
Mohammed Nabi’s Afghanistan were brought into the Asia Cup after they qualified for the 2015 World Cup. And they would look to make a good impression before their four sub-continental neighbours, namely India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The interest that they have managed to generate by their presence notwithstanding, Afghanistan are not expected to go too far in the tournament given they have played just two one-dayers so far against Test nations, losing both of them, to Pakistan and Australia.
That exposure also came way back in 2012 and it would be interesting to see how the minnows have grown since then.
What would count in their favour in the competition is the team’s firm understanding of the local conditions, considering eight from the current squad have participated in various domestic competitions here, including the Bangladesh Premier League.
Pakistan, on the other hand, would have to quickly shake off the disappointment of losing their tournament-opener against Sri Lanka.
Match starts 1.30 pm (IST)