Welcome to Wisden’s live match centre for the T20 World Cup 2021 game between Afghanistan and Namibia on October 31. Namibia have won their lone Super 12 game in the edition, while Afghanistan went down to Pakistan in a thrilling game on Friday.
Follow this space for live updates, score, commentary and real-time analysis of the Afg vs Nam match.
Right. That will be that from us for this game. However, the action continues in Dubai as India prepare to take on New Zealand. Head over to our coverage to stay in touch with whatever transpires at Dubai in a potentially defining clash. I will take your leave now! Goodbye, stay safe!
Before the game began, there were several who wondered how far Namibia had come and if they had the wherewithal to upset the Afghan apple cart. However, as the match progressed, the gulf in class and quality became apparent. Not only were Afghanistan better in all three departments, they seemed to be a step ahead of the Namibians too – something that only comes from experience.
Shahzad, Zazai set the platform before Asghar weaved his magic through the middle. Nabi provided the kick towards the end and ensured that Afghanistan posted an above-par total on the board. In the second innings, Hamid Hassan made everyone question where he had been since the 2016 T20 World Cup. He bowled with fire and seemed a lot quicker than what the speed gun showed. Naveen was also dexterous with his variations while Rashid Khan was, well, Rashid Khan.
For Namibia, this could act as a stiff learning curve. However, you feel they will embrace it and use it as a springboard for success further down the road. Their batting still looks a little thin and that is something they might have to rectify. Their bowling, though, seems like it can hold its own, even against the game’s biggest gunslingers.
All in all, it was another portrayal of the fighting spirit Namibia boast. But, at the end, the game against Afghanistan was perhaps just a step too far. For Afghanistan, this is a massive victory, both in terms of the two points and in terms of their net run rate. Their next game is against India and if the Men In Blue stumble against New Zealand tonight, Afghanistan might start harboring aspirations of a semi-final berth!
Over 20: Namibia 98-9 – Afghanistan win by 62 runs
The inevitable has happened and Namibia have crumbled to their second defeat at the 2021 T20 World Cup. Not a lot that happened in the final over per se apart from Asghar Afghan basking in the glory of his final international appearance. What a contributor he has been for Afghanistan and Afghan cricket will surely miss his personality! Hamid Hassan is carrying him on his shoulders and rightly so!
Over 19: Namibia 94-9 – Trumpelmann delays the inevitable
Trumpelmann struck a few lusty blows in the 19th over and it will act as consolation for a Namibian side that is on the verge of getting hammered. Afghanistan have been full value for their victory and this is the perfect send-off for Asghar Afghan.
Stat Alert! This is the first time ever that seamers have combined for 8 wickets in a T20I innings for Afghanistan. Wow! That is some stat. Not very surprising though, considering the presence of Mujeeb, Nabi and Rashid.
Over 16.5: Namibia 80-9 – Hamid castles Wiese
Just reward for Hamid who has been simply sensational today. It seems that he has been a lot quicker than the batters would have expected – something emphasized by how the batters have been late on their strokes. Either way, this is a remarkable comeback for a bowler whose last appearance came in the 2016 T20 World Cup against the West Indies at Nagpur.
Over 16: Namibia 77-8 – Gulbadin flexes his muscles again
It is quite fascinating that Gulbadin, prior to today, had not bowled in a T20I since March 2020. Today, he has two wickets and has been very hard to get away, especially when he has unfurled his slower delivery. The “muscle man” celebration is back too. Afghanistan unearthing new heroes every game!
Update: Rahmanullah Gurbaz has injured his shoulder while attempting a diving catch. He is going off the field for now. It doesn’t look very serious but is certainly a concern that Afghanistan could have done without, especially with Asghar Afghan not available henceforth.
Over 14.5: Namibia 69-7 – Naveen gets another
Namibia have failed to come to grips with Naveen’s variations today. His leg-cutter, in particular, has been hard to pick up. Namibia are now seven down and barring an extraordinary miracle, seem destined to slump to their first Super 12 defeat.
Over 14: Namibia 65-6 – Namibia going nowhere
Namibia have done well to negotiate Rashid’s threat. In the process, though, they’ve not gotten anywhere. The required run rate is 16 runs per over now and only a miracle can save them. Wiese is still at the crease and as long as he is there, Namibia might keep dreaming.
Over 11: Namibia 56-6 – Hamid gets two in the over; Namibia on the brink
Hamid continues making himself a nuisance and his extra pace fetches him another wicket. With Smit back in the shed, the onus has completely shifted onto Wiese. Namibia still need more than 100, though, meaning that even Wiese might not be able to salvage this situation.
Over 10.3: Namibia 56-5 – Hamid hammers another nail into the Namibian coffin
Plenty doubted if the wily old fox still had it in him to perform on the biggest. Fair to say then that those doubters have been silenced courtesy of a searing yorker. Erasmus had no answer for it and now Namibia have to rebuild, while also hoping that the required run rate does not get out of hand.
Over 10: Namibia 55-4 – Namibia have a mountain to climb
Erasmus and Wiese have done well to consolidate after the early wickets. They have played Rashid also effectively so far. However, they need to get a move on sooner rather than later, considering they require more than 100 runs (105 to be precise) in the last 10 overs. Wiese will be key in that pursuit.
Over 7.1: Namibia 36-4 – Rashid gets in on the act straightaway
A lot of people have tried to evolve plans to play Rashid and most of them have suggested on playing straight. Green, though, doesn’t pay heed to it and looks for an audacious scoop, only for his stumps to be rattled. Namibia in a huge spot of bother now. Thankfully, they now have Erasmus and Wiese at the crease to clear up the mess. Rashid, by the way, has picked up his 100th T20I wicket for Afghanistan!
Over 5.2: Namibia 29-3 – Namibia slipping further
Gulbadin strikes in his first over and he, much like Naveen, seems to be relying on his variations. Namibia have gone too hard at the ball and haven’t really concentrated on reading the variations. They might do well to adhere to that in the overs that remain. If they don’t, things could get out of hand very quickly.
Over 5: Namibia 29-2 – Afghanistan keep things under control
Apart from a couple of maximums, the Afghan bowlers have largely held their own. They have bowled into the wicket and have made the most of the conditions on offer. Namibia haven’t been troubled a lot but they would be feeling the pinch to increase the tempo. Something might give in the final over of the Power Play.
31 Oct, 2021, 12:10 (UK Time): The heat is relenting a touch in Abu Dhabi and a slight breeze is accompanying the players in their endeavours. The day began quite hot but there are signs that it is cooling down now.
Over 2.4: Namibia 16-2 – Naveen gets another
Naveen has kept the batters guessing so far and he accounts for another batter after deceiving him for pace. He has been brilliant with his variations and the decision to hand him the new ball has paid off handsomely. By the way, he has 24 wickets in the Power Play across 42 innings.
Over 0.4: Namibia 2-1 – Naveen gets Williams
Naveen has been asked to bowl with the new ball in Mujeeb’s absence and he has answered his captain’s call almost instantly. He has hit a hard length so far and that seems to be the way forward too. This is the last thing Namibia would have wanted. And, perhaps the start Afghanistan would have dreamt of.
Update: Williams walks out to the centre alongside van Lingen. The former will take strike against Naveen-ul-Haq first up! Bring it on!
Afghanistan began their innings brightly, with Shahzad and Zazai clicking into gear in the Power Play. However, the onset of the spinners brought a lull. Loftie-Eaton, in particular, was brilliant through the middle overs and ensured that the Afghan batters were stifled. In fact, it was only towards the end of the middle phase that Afghanistan began generating momentum, with Asghar Afghan playing a crucial part. Nabi applied the finishing touches and powered Afghanistan to 160 – a total they might not have had in mind when they elected to bat first but decent considering the surface on offer. The pitch has not been very conducive to stroke-making, especially against spinners. And, remember, Afghanistan have a few quality spinners up their sleeve as well.
At the half-way stage, it seems that the Afghans are slightly ahead. But Namibia have shown previously that they can mount successful run-chases. Their middle order and Gerhard Erasmus will be key as always, and their match-ups against the likes of Nabi and Rashid could define the outcome of this contest. Sit tight folks, this could get very interesting! Do join us in a bit for the run-chase.
Over 20: Afghanistan 160-5 – Afghanistan finish with 160
Nabi has been the aggressor at the death and he has indeed powered Afghanistan to 160. Wiese is livid with himself for the two full tosses he bowled in the over. But he can’t do much now. Nabi and Naib walk off the field smiling and they know that they’ve put up more runs than what they would’ve expected after a sluggish middle phase.
Over 19: Afghanistan 148-5 – Asghar Afghan’s last international innings comes to an end
Asghar Afghan has been an excellent servant for Afghanistan cricket and he bows out by playing another innings of substance. He has given Afghanistan the platform to mount another assault towards the end. Nabi, at the other end, has taken that on board and has been making merry. He is now batting on 21 off 12 balls. Can he take down Wiese?
Over 18: Afghanistan 136-4 – Wiese bowls a tidy over
Both Asghar and Nabi have been content to sit deep in their crease and use the pace on the ball. They have accessed the areas behind the wicket and that is something Namibia will have to think about. That said, Wiese did well to mix up his variations and concede 6 runs off the 18th over. Can Afghanistan get to 160 from here?
Over 17: Afghanistan 130-4 – Afghanistan generate momentum
A few of these runs have been streaky but Afghanistan would not mind one bit. They have injected impetus into their innings and it should be enough to see them through till the end of the innings. The only element that can stop this charge is wickets. And, Namibia need them swiftly.
Update: Mohammad Nabi has replaced Nabi at the crease. The skipper strikes at 167.55 at the death since the start of 2020. You feel Afghanistan will need every bit of that firepower to get up to a decent total.
Over 15.4: Afghanistan 113-4 – Loftie-Eaton scalps Najib
Namibia have done well to keep chipping away at the wickets. They’ve almost always done so today when Afghanistan have started building a partnership. Loftie-Eaton, in particular, has been very impressive and has kept the batters guessing at all times. Can he finish off with another wicket?
Over 15: Afghanistan 109-3 – Asghar Afghan enjoying his Last Dance
Asghar seems to have shed all possible inhibitions and is already swinging for the fences. He has not connected with a lot of those but when he has, he has launched the ball over the ropes. He seems intent on throwing his bat and considering the position Afghanistan are in, that is the right way forward too. Najib has also looked good so far.
Over 12.4: Afghanistan 89-3 – Shahzad bites the dust
Shahzad has been looking to increase the tempo but he finally perishes for the cause. He tried the scoop but that really isn’t one of his strengths. Afghanistan, though, would love his contribution today. Their middle order now has the time to get settled and then tee off.
Over 12: Afghanistan 87-2 – Shahzad takes the attack to Loftie-Eaton
The wickets have not deterred Shahzad and he is looking to pile on the pressure. He has taken a liking to Loftie-Eaton and it would be intriguing to see how Namibia react. In the process, Shahzad has also crossed the 2000-run mark in T20I cricket.
Update: Asghar Afghan walks out to bat in international cricket for the last time. He receives a guard of honour from the Namibian players too. Can he make a useful contribution today?
Over 9.5: Afghanistan 68-2 – Rahmanullah departs
Rahmanullah had been looking twitchy today and he finally perishes. This will put a bit of pressure on the Afghan batters, considering that he has often been their glue in the middle overs. It would also be interesting to see the tack Shahzad adopts henceforth.
Over 9: Afghanistan 65-1 – Shahzad keeps things ticking
Shahzad has developed a reputation as a middle overs dasher since 2020 – something emphasized by his strike rate of 149.25 in this phase. Today, he has ensured that things have kept moving for Afghanistan and that they have not been bogged down after Zazai’s departure.
Over 6.4: Afghanistan 53-1 – Smit breaks through
Smit has been one of Namibia’s most consistent performers this T20 World Cup and he comes up trumps again. He sends Zazai packing and that should set Afghanistan back a little, with Rahmanullah prone to taking his time at the start of the innings. Can Namibia tighten the screw?
Over 6: Afghanistan 50-0 – Shahzad joins in on the fun
For a major part of the Power Play, Shahzad had been content to play second fiddle. Now, though, he too gets in on the fun and that could be very detrimental to Namibia’s chances. Remember, Afghanistan bat very deep, with Rashid Khan slated to bat at 9. If Namibia can’t pick up wickets, they might be staring at a huge total.
Over 5: Afghanistan 37-0 – Zazai breaks free
Namibia have largely done well to not bowl to Zazai’s strengths. However, whenever they have erred, the Afghan has capitalized. After a couple of good overs, he has now powered Afghanistan to 37-0 and seems well established at the surface. Namibia need a wicket and they need it quick.
Over 3: Afghanistan 17-0 – Namibia pull things back
After the first over, where Trumpelmann was a little guilty of bowling full, Namibia have literally pulled things back. There is a bit of tennis ball bounce too and that is making hitting back of a length deliveries difficult. It might not be long before Zazai looks to break the shackles though.
Over 1: Afghanistan 11-0 – Zazai races out of the blocks
Brisk starts and Zazai have become synonymous over the past couple of years. And, it seems that that trend is continuing today. Apart from a few wafts, Zazai looked good while executing his lofted shot and that could spell danger for Namibia, considering Zazai strikes at 164.94 in the Power Place since the start of 2020.
Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Shahzad will open the batting for Afghanistan. Trumpelmann will start off proceedings for Namibia. Here wo go!
Both teams are walking out to the centre for their respective national anthems. Remember, today will be the last time Asghar Afghan will be participating in these rituals on the international stage. Can he sign off with another top performance?
Afghanistan win the toss and bat first again; Mujeeb misses out
Nabi wins the toss for the third time in a row and chooses to bat again. The ploy seems to be clear: make runs and then defend it with their array of top-class bowlers. The absence of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who is nursing a leg injury, might hamper that pursuit but Afghanistan look capable of offsetting it. Remember, they have the highest batting run-rate of in 2021 and they would want to make merry when the pitch is at its freshest. For Namibia, it is another opportunity to bowl tidily at the top and restrict Afghanistan. If they manage to do so, they would back their strong middle order to chase down whatever total is put in front of them.
Afghanistan XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Shahzad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (C), Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hamid Hassan
Namibia XI: Craig Williams, Zane Green, Gerhard Erasmus (C), Michael van Lingen, JJ Smit, David Wiese, Jan Frylinck, Pikky Ya France, Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz
What does Abu Dhabi have in store?
The conditions at Abu Dhabi have varied considerably since the start of the second phase of the IPL. While it has largely aided spinners, it has also housed a couple of high-scoring encounters (CSK vs RR being a perfect case in point). Batting, though, has seemed a little easier under lights – something that might not come into effect today. In the process, it would be interesting to see how the spinners exploit the larger ground dimensions at their disposal and if there is any assistance for the pacers.
In the T20 World Cup, the average score batting first has been 127. When considering all T20s to be played this year, that number zings up to 162. As far as results are concerned, the team batting first has only won once (Sri Lanka against Ireland), with the teams chasing winning on the remaining six occasions.
Could that prompt both captains to win the toss and field first? Afghanistan, lest we forget, have shown an inclination to put up runs on the board this T20 World Cup.
Can Afghanistan bounce back?
A couple of days ago, Afghanistan came within a whisker of victory against Pakistan – a feat no team has managed so far at the 2021 T20 World Cup. However, just when push came to shove, the Afghans wilted. Though a lot of blame has been attached to Karim Janat, he was probably on the wrong end of an Asif Ali masterclass. Nevertheless, that defeat has left Afghanistan needing two victories in the three games that remain. On paper, that seems a tough enough task, considering they are still to play India and New Zealand. Yet, this team has something about them. Something that hasn’t often been associated with Afghanistan – batting might.
Against Scotland, it came to the fore. In fact, Afghanistan would hope that it becomes a feature today, especially against Namibia and in a game that they simply must win. While they will still not be eliminated if they lose (theoretically at least), they would want to be in a situation where a victory against either India or New Zealand would guarantee qualification, rather than having to defeat both in succession.
For Namibia, their story at the T20 World Cup keeps finding new leases of life. They have now won three games on the spin and have been clinical in almost all of them. Against Scotland, their pacers set up the game before David Wiese and JJ Smit applied the finishing touches. Their batting remains a slight concern, especially now that they are up against Afghanistan. But they have shown enough tactical awareness to make the most of their resources and prove a handful for historically established T20I outfits.
If they can get the better of a strong Afghan side is another matter altogether. Yet, Namibia have already taught us that they should be written off at their own peril. Something has to give today then, right?
T20 World Cup 2021 Afghanistan v Namibia: Preview
Both teams started the Super 12 campaign with a fine win over Scotland in this T20 World Cup. Afghanistan, however, have played one more game in the tournament, but the result did not go in their favour as they went down to Pakistan after a blistering late assault by Asif Ali.
T20 World Cup 2021 AFG v NAM: Team news and injury updates
Afghanistan are fretting over the injury to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who had hobbled off during the game against Pakistan. If he isn’t fit, Hamid Hassan could replace him in the XI.
Asghar Afghan, the former Afghanistan captain, announced ahead of the clash that this will be his last international game.
T20 World Cup 2021 Afghanistan squad: Full team list for AFG
Namibia have a full fit squad at their disposal and will be high on confidence after winning three games on the bounce.
T20 World Cup 2021 Namibia squad: Full team list for NAM
T20 World Cup 2021 Afghanistan v Namibia: Where to watch live
India: Star Sports Network; Disney+ Hotstar
UK & Ireland: Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Mix; Sky Sports app, www.skysports.com
North Africa: CricLife Max.
The complete list of broadcast (TV and live streaming) options for the tournament can be found here.