Balkh Legends will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Nangarhar Leopards at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The match is scheduled for October 11 and the live action begins at 20:00 local time.
Bl vs Nl: Where to watch/Live streaming
TV channels: Ariana Television Network, Dsport, FreeSports, WillowTV, SKY Sport NZ, SuperSport, Ten Sports, Channel 9
Live streaming: Dsport, Willow TV Online, OSN Play, Sky Go, SuperSport Live
Balkh Legends have won the toss and elected to field twice in their three games so far.
Read on for team previews, betting tips, latest odds and match prediction for Balkh Legends vs Nangarhar Leopards (Afghanistan Premier League).
Balkh Legends Team News & Playing 11
BL Team News
Chris Gayle made his first appearance in the APL last time out, opening the batting as Ben Laughlin stepped aside. That changed the balance of the line-up, however, with all of the overseas spots taken by batsmen, and could have contributed to their expensive bowling display. Laughlin has also conceded a lot of runs so far, however. Mirwais Ashraf returned from injury to replace Darwish Rasooli, but could not complete his bowling spell – Ravi Bopara having to bowl the final ball for him.
BL Key Players
Chris Gayle marked his first game in the APL with a breezy 20, from just ten balls – contributing to an opening partnership of 38 in 17 balls in total in tandem with Usman Ghani (16). Gayle arrived in Afghanistan having hit a century in his final List A appearance for Jamaica.
Gayle’s arrival meant Colin Munro dropping to number three, but the Caribbean Premier League’s top run scorer – who hit 46 from 24 in the previous game – scored at slower run rate than normal.
Ravi Bopara is the Balkh Legends’ top scorer so far, meanwhile, after three largely consistent innings but he too scored slowly in the chase against Paktia Panthers – meaning the 40 from 15 balls hit by captain Mohammad Nabi was in vain.
With the ball, Nabi leads the way but was not as economical as normal last time out, and the same is true of Gulbadin Naib, who took his wicket tally to seven in three games, but was hit for 46 runs from his four overs.
BL Team Form
Balkh Legends were the only team to win their first two matches in the APL, before crashing to defeat in their third match last time out.
The first game saw Ryan ten Doeschate (78*) and Ravi Bopara (38*) help them to 177/2 in an eight-wicket defeat of Kabul Zwanan. Colin Munro then hit 46 in a total of 165/6 against Kandahar Nights before Gulbadin Naib’s brilliant 4-12 from four overs helped them to a 13-run win.
Against Paktia Panthers, however, their bowlers were not so tight – the Panthers hitting 18 sixes in a total of 204/4. In reply, Balkh Legends struggled to stick with the run rate and were eventually bowled out for 167 with an over remaining.
Balkh Legends Predicted Playing 11
Chris Gayle, Colin Munro, Usman Ghani, Ryan ten Doeschate, Ravi Bopara, Darwish Rasooli, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Ali Khil, Gulbadin Naib, Qais Ahmad, Aftab Alam
Nangarhar Leopards Team News & Playing 11
NL Team News
Andre Russell made his first appearance of the tournament last time out, replacing Johnson Charles in the Nangarhar Leopards line-up as they shuffled their batting order. It initially looked a success when Anton Devcich, promoted to open, put on 109 with Najeeb Tarakai for the first wicket on his way to 94 not out, but they were outshone by Kabul Zwanan’s openers as their 188/5 proved to be below par. With Sandeep Lamichhane still playing in the ICC World Twenty20 Asia Region Qualifier, however, changes may be few. Naveen-ul-Haq has been expensive with the ball (though he is not alone) and could pay the price if there are any changes – Ibrahim Zadran is waiting in the wings.
NL Key Players
Anton Devcich’s unbeaten 94 against Kabul Zwanan was his highest ever T20 score, and his 17th 50 in the format – his 16th half-century having arrived in the Caribbean Premier League last month.
He will likely continue opening therefore, and occupying one of the overseas spots – another of which is taken by Ben Cutting, who claimed 5-28 against Kandahar Knights and 3-25 against Paktia Panthers, as well as hitting 71 from 39 balls with the bat in the latter.
Andre Russell’s arrival is also a big boost – even if he failed to fire last time out. The West Indian’s talent was laid bare in the Caribbean Premier League in the game against Trinbago Knight Riders, when he hit 121 not out in their successful run chase, having earlier taken a hat-trick.
Zahir Khan has been one of their other stand-out bowlers, meanwhile – the mystery spinner, who played for Lancashire in the t20 Blast this summer, has four wickets so far having taken 1-20, 2-22 and 1-20 again.
NL Team Form
Nangarhar Leopards started the APL with victory against Kandahar Knights – Ben Cutting’s career-best 5-28 helping them restrict the Knights to 139/9 before chasing it down with nine balls remaining to win by six wickets.
They have lost both of their following matches, however – falling 21 runs short of Paktia Panthers’ 184/8 despite more wickets and a 39-ball 71 for Cutting – before their seven-wicket loss to Kabul Zwanan. In the latter, Anton Devcich hit an unbeaten 94 out of 188/5 but his performance was overshadowed by Hazratullah Zazai’s 55-ball 124 in a seven-wicket Kabul win.
Nangarhar Leopards Predicted Playing 11
Anton Devcich, Najeeb Tarakai, Andre Russell, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Shafiqullah, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Ibrahim Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Zahir Khan
Balkh Legends vs Nangarhar Leopards Betting Odds
Balkh Legends start as favourites against out-of-form Nangarhar Leopards, at 1.72 to win with Bet365 compared to 2.10.
Chris Gayle's arrival is exciting the bookmakers, and the West Indian opener is 3.50 to be Balkh Legends’ top batsman, compared to 4.00 for Colin Munro - the top scorer in the Caribbean Premier League last month.
For Nangarhar, after his exploits last time out, Anton Devcich is 5.00 to finish as top batsman again and Andre Russell is 5.50 - though the latter failed to score against Kabul Zwanan last time out.
Balkh Legends vs Nangarhar Leopards Prediction
Balkh Legends' top start to the APL was cut short by Paktia Panthers last time out, but with a strong batting line-up they can inflict a third straight defeat on Nangarhar Leopards.
Final Verdict: Back Balkh Legends to beat Nangarhar Leopards at 1.72 with Bet365.