England take on Afghanistan aiming to take top spot in the World Cup group
Last Updated: 18/06/19 10:04am
England will be aiming to take another step closer to the World Cup semi-finals when they face Afghanistan at Old Trafford on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports.
Three wins from their opening four group games have established Eoin Morgan's side in the top four and another victory would see them take top spot from Australia.
While Jason Roy has been ruled out of the game in Manchester, and England's next match against Sri Lanka on Friday, due to a hamstring tear, Morgan himself took part in Monday's training session and is expected to be fit to lead the team after a back spasm forced him from the field during the win over West Indies.
James Vince is set to replace Roy at the top of the order while Moeen Ali could come in for Liam Plunkett, who missed training due to illness, on a pitch that is expected to provide assistance to the spinners.
That would certainly suit Afghanistan, who boast a potent spin-bowling attack, led by Rashid Khan, and captain Gulbadin Naib believes they can cause any side problems in the right conditions.
"We are looking for the spin, every game," Gulbadin said.
"If the wicket is like the one India and Pakistan played on, which slightly turned, with this kind of turn maybe every team is in trouble against Afghanistan.
"Not only England or others. If there is a little bit of spin there, maybe it's a good day for Afghanistan."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
With Roy ruled out, the onus will be on Jonny Bairstow to make sure that England continue to start quickly with the bat. Vince will play his part but he does not possess the explosive power of Roy, Bairstow does and after a couple of starts, this could be his chance to really make his mark on this tournament.
The England opener will not be the only one though and with the promise of spin, this could be the perfect chance for Rashid Khan to show what he can do on the international stage.
The leg-spinner has taken just three wickets so far in the tournament but is third in the ICC's ODI bowling rankings and helping Afghanistan pull off a major shock in Manchester would be the perfect way to prove his quality.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?
England captain Eoin Morgan on Jason Roy: "He's in the best form of his life. So he's very important.
"I certainly believe Jason will play again in this tournament. At the moment he's going to be assessed continuously over the course of the next week. He's out of the next two games. So we'll see how he pulls up after that.
"There's a reason we'd keep him around. One, he's a very key player, but two, there is a very optimistic chance of him playing."
Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib on Rashid Khan: "Rashid is not like other bowlers who bowl normally, he's an attacking bowler.
"Every time he's attacking. But one thing that's bad is the surfaces have not suited him. If they slightly turned, you'll find Rashid is a key bowler and he's also key for the success of Afghanistan."
Watch every match of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on Sky Sports, continuing with England vs Afghanistan from 10am, Tuesday on Sky Sports Cricket World Cup.