Pakistan v Afghanistan: Sarfraz's side out to continue 1992 repeat

It is no secret by now that Pakistan's Cricket World Cup campaign is echoing their 1992 success and they will have the opportunity to continue the trend against Afghanistan.

Pakistan, as in 1992, lost their first match, won their second, had a no result in the third and then followed up a pair of defeats with back-to-back wins.

Victory is required against Afghanistan on Saturday to keep the run going, but Sarfraz Ahmed's side will be hugely confident of such a result having rediscovered their form.

Now, rather than playing to keep their hopes alive, Pakistan can attack fourth-placed hosts England, who are just a point ahead.

Babar Azam's unbeaten 101 was key to a hugely valuable triumph over New Zealand on Wednesday, with momentum now on Pakistan's side.

Afghanistan gave India a scare last week but ultimately fell short and England will not have high hopes of receiving assistance from the tournament's basement side this weekend.

Supposing Pakistan come through unscathed, while England prepare for India, Sarfraz's men could potentially face Bangladesh with a place in the semi-finals at stake.
 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

Pakistan were on a miserable run coming into the World Cup and that initially continued with an awful defeat to West Indies. However, they hit back and beat England, while two wins in their past two matches - against South Africa and New Zealand - have them in the mix for the semi-finals.

For Afghanistan, there has been precious little cheer. They have not even been involved in a no result, losing each of their seven matches and being bowled out on six occasions.
 

WHAT THEY SAID

Pakistan's Haris Sohail: "We've kept it very simple. We are going from match to match. They [Afghanistan] have quality spinners and we've seen a lot of videos and we've worked from them. And hopefully we'll see a good match."

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib: "Every game is really exciting, the boys are really excited. Unfortunately, we are yet to win a single game. So we go for 100 per cent in this game. It's a World Cup so every game is important for us."
 

OPTA FACTS

- Pakistan have won all three of their previous men's ODIs against Afghanistan, although this will be their first Cricket World Cup meeting.
- Afghanistan have lost their past seven men's ODIs, all at this World Cup, in their longest losing run in the format.
- Pakistan are in the exact same position at this World Cup 2019 (W3, L3, NR1) as they were at this stage in 1992 when they went on to become champions; to continue that similarity, they need to win all of their remaining games through to the final.
- Wahab Riaz has taken 32 CWC wickets and needs two more to tie Imran Khan as Pakistan's second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament's history. Wasim Akram leads the way on 55.
- Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) has conceded the most sixes of any bowler at this World Cup, but 11 of those 12 came in one match against England.

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