CWC 2023: Afghanistan win toss, opt to bat against Australia; Smith not fit for contest

Mumbai: Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahid won the toss and elected to bat first against Australia in a crucial clash of the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023 here at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Afghanistan's fairy-tale run in the ongoing tournament has taken them to the sixth position with eight points, and their fate is in their own hands in terms of what would be a historic feat in qualifying for the semifinals.
Meanwhile, the five-time champions also had a rough start to the tournament, losing their first two games, but have since recovered form to win five straight matches and move within striking distance of the semifinals.
Australia batter Steve Smith has not been included in the playing XI against Afghanistan due to vertigo.
Speaking at the time of toss, Hashmatullah Shahidi said, "We want to bat first. The wicket looks good now and we are hopeful it will seam and spin in the second innings. We have done well chasing but you also have to look at the opposition and the ground. He is a legend of the game, and we were excited to see him and learn from him, he had some words for us and we will try to learn from that. We have one change - Fazalhaq is not playing, Naveen is playing."
Australia captain Pat Cummins said, "Not too much. We would have had a bat but it is fine. Two changes. Steve struggled in the warm-ups and he's going to miss out, Cam Green misses out as well, and Maxwell and Marsh are in. Really happy with the way we have gone, five in a row, one of the most pleasing things is we have 14 guys played so far and everyone has played well, long may that continue. IT is always a factor, it was a bit cooler than it was a month ago, we will be fine we have got plenty of bowling options."
Afghanistan (Playing XI): Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi(c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil(w), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad and Naveen-ul-Haq.
Australia (Playing XI): Travis Head, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis(w), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins(c), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood.

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