Delhi pitch could hand Dawson a chance


Liam Dawson is in line to make his international debut as England take on Afghanistan on a slow turner in Delhi at the World Twenty20.

Eyebrows were raised when left-arm orthodox bowler Dawson was named in England's squad for the tournament, but the Hampshire man could feature in a three-pronged spin attack at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

Captain Eoin Morgan talked up Dawson in his pre-match news conference when asked if Joe Root would be considered his third slow option after Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

He said: "Liam Dawson adds a lot more with the ball than Joe would so he could come into consideration if the grass comes off the pitch.

"He's trained really hard since he's come into the side, bowled really well in training and been really upbeat so like anybody is really keen to get involved."

Afghanistan have impressed in spells against Sri Lanka and South Africa and, having lost to the Netherlands in two previous editions, England will be wary of slipping to another shock defeat.



Having played in the run-friendly environs of Mumbai and Kolkata in the group games so far, both teams' batsmen could be in for a rude awakening in Delhi.

England's thoughts of selecting Dawson show how much turn is expected, while two matches in the concurrent women's WorldT20 give further evidence.

Top-ranked India made 96-7 against Pakistan, before reducing their opponents to 77-6 in 16 overs - although this score was enough to see Pakistan win by two runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.



Afghanistan recovered from a shaky start to put on 106 runs in 10 overs against Sri Lanka, before Mohammad Shahzad opened their reply to South Africa's 209-5 with a rip-roaring 19-ball 44.

Putting together two halves of a top-class batting display, and a high-profile scalp, are their next targets.

Captain Asghar Stanikzai said: "People now see 'this is a side that can beat us'. They are really preparing and planning and worrying. 

"We are here to beat a full member and we have the ability to beat any of them.

"Definitely there will be big pressure on England looking to the last two games, so we are eager to win at least one of the next two, and that is our main ambition in the next two matches."



England opener Alex Hales sat out a net session on Tuesday, limited by a back injury.

James Vince is on standby to fill in at the top of the order. Vince made scores of 41, 38 and 46 in last year's T20I series with Pakistan and warmed up for the tournament with a 45-run knock against his England team-mates while playing for a Mumbai XI.



- This will be the second time these sides have met in a T20 fixture with England winning the other match between the sides at the 2012 World Twenty20.
- England won that match by 116 runs, their biggest ever winning margin in a T20 match and the third biggest winning margin in a WorldTwenty20 game by any side.
- Only Nuwan Kulasekara (6 - Sri Lanka) has bowled more maidens in T20I cricket than Mohammad Nabi (5), one of which came against Sri Lanka earlier in this tournament.
- Joe Root needs 24 runs to become the 10th player to score 500 T20I runs for England; his average of 39.7 is the best of any England player to bat in more than three innings.
- Ben Stokes currently has a batting strike rate of 148.7 in T20I cricket, the best rate of anyone to bat in 10+ innings for England.