After a disappointing opening defeat in the tournament at the hands of Bangladesh, Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, is looking to leg-spin maestro Rashid Khan to lead the way against India in their upcoming World Cup match.
In their previous outing, Afghanistan were comprehensively outplayed by Bangladesh, suffering a six-wicket loss after being bowled out for a mere 156 runs in Dharamsala. Despite this setback, 25-year-old Rashid Khan, boasting an impressive record of 172 wickets in 95 ODI matches, remains Afghanistan's key bowler.
"Rashid is the best bowler in ODIs and T20s, so whatever the opposition is doing, we don't care about that," Shahidi asserted. "Like how they want to play Rashid, for us, the important thing is how he has planned against the opposition. So that matters for us."
Shahidi further emphasised, "He has the quality, and whenever it's his day, he can do anything against the opposition, so we are expecting and we are hopeful that he delivers in tomorrow's game."
However, Shahidi acknowledged that relying solely on spin would not guarantee success. "I made a statement at the beginning that we would play good cricket as a batting side. We have a good spin bowling attack, but only one department can't win your games," he explained.
"In the Bangladesh game, I know we didn't do well batting, but as a team, we have that belief that we can come back in the next game and throughout the tournament. So the belief is there, and the talent is there, and we will try to move on."
Facing India in their home conditions presents added pressure, but Shahidi affirmed that Afghanistan will not be overwhelmed by the expected packed house at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.
"When it's the opposition's home, there will be crowd pressure," Shahidi acknowledged. "Especially in India, there are a lot of expectations that the stadium will be packed, but as a team, our talks are like we have to make these things simple. We need to focus on our own game and try to deliver our own game."
In their limited history in the 50-over format, Afghanistan and India have faced each other just three times, with India winning two encounters and one match ending in a tie.