MANCHESTER   -   England, who have excelled on all fronts in their last two matches, will look to further establish their ascendancy when they face Afghanistan, who are currently placed last on the points table, on Tuesday, 18 June.

England have won their last two games comprehensively, by margins of 106 runs and eight wickets respectively, and seem to be on course for a spot in the semi-finals. However, there are concerns over the fitness of skipper Eoin Morgan and opening batsman Jason Roy, who left the field midway against West Indies due to injuries, with the latter being ruled out for a minimum of two matches due to hamstring injury.

Joe Root, who opened the innings in Roy’s absence, seemed to be at his fluent best, registering his second century at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. The right-hander will return to his No.3 spot against Afghanistan, as James Vince is likely to fill in for Roy, making his first World Cup appearance in the process.

Afghanistan are yet to bat through their full quota of overs this tournament, and it has resulted in them losing each of their four matches. Against South Africa, they collapsed from 69/2 in the 21st over to 125 all out in the 35th. The Gulbadin Naib-led side will have to put together a complete performance if they are to challenge the top-ranked team in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings.

Bairstow has got starts in each of the last three games but has failed to convert them into a big one. With Jason Roy unavailable for Tuesday’s clash, the right-hander will look to take extra responsibility and score big against Afghanistan.

The star spinner, who could’t bowl against New Zealand after being hit by a Lockie Ferguson bouncer earlier in the day, went wicket-less in seven overs against South Africa. Rashid will eye a much-improved performance on Tuesday, as he holds the key to Afghanistan stopping the power-packed England batting line-up.

The day will have a cloudy start, with some sunny periods thereafter and minimal chances of rain. While breezy conditions will assist new-ball bowlers early on, the large boundaries at Old Trafford will keep spinners from either side interested.