Hungary is all set to tour Austria for a three-match T20I series starting on June 4. All the games will be played at the Seebarn Cricket Ground in Seebarn.
Austria hasn’t had much game time recently, as their last international assignment came back in July last year when they toured Belgium for a three-match T20I series. They lost the first two games but won the last to end the series on a high. They will be looking to kickstart the series against Hungary on a winning note.
Hungary, meanwhile, competed in the recently concluded Valletta Cup. They lost to the Czech Republic in the third-place playoff after finishing the league stage in fourth position in the points table.
They have had game time in recent times, which could come in handy against Austria. Both teams have some exciting players in their ranks, so expect a cracking series.
Austria struggled against the Netherlands in their final warm-up game before Euro 2016. They pushed David Alaba back into a deeper role within the midfield and struggled without his star quality, eventually losing 2-0 thanks to goals from Vincent Jansson and Georginio Wijnaldum.
This came after a fairly disappointing 2-1 win over Malta which saw Alaba score an embarrassing own goal. Only two of their five matches since qualifying ended have resulted in a win, but they can take heart from the fact that they performed well during the competitive football of qualifying.
They won their last five matches in a row in Euro 2016 qualifying to finish top of their group, eight points ahead of Russia and ten ahead of Sweden. They only dropped two points throughout the entire period, so they have some quality about them.
Hungary’s path to France wasn’t quite so straightforward. They finished 3rd in their group behind Northern Ireland and Romania, picking up just 16 points in arguably one of the easiest groups in qualifying. This put them into a playoff match against Norway, which they won 3-1 on aggregate.
They haven’t won any of their three friendly matches since then though, drawing against Croatia and Ivory Coast and, most recently, losing 2-0 to Germany. They showed their lack of quality in the game against Germany as they surrendered possession to the world champions and only got one shot on target throughout the match. Their eight shots that missed the target indicate that they can create chances, but they lack the star quality that some nations have.
Austria is one side that does possess a bit of class. David Alaba is one of the best in the world whether he plays in midfield or defense, and he does a fantastic job when employed as a number ten for Austria. Marc Janko and Zlatko Junuzovic are both fantastic players as well and Marko Arnautovic can do a job. They have a Premier League-winning left-back in Christian Fuchs and Aleksandar Dragovic is rock solid at the back.
I think Austria has a great chance of kicking their campaign off with a win on Tuesday, and despite their poor performances in friendlies, they showed some real quality during competitive football, beating Russia twice and taking four points off Sweden. Odds of 8/11 for Austria to Win look excellent too, so I’m backing that along with a 2-0 correct score prediction at 6/1.
AUSTRIA VS HUNGARY MATCH DETAILS:
Match: Austria vs Hungary, 1st and 2nd T20I, Hungary tour of Austria, 2022.
Date and Time: June 4, 2022, Saturday; 03:00 PM IST and 07:00 PM IST.
Venue: Seebarn Cricket Ground, Seebarn.
The pitch at the Seebarn Cricket Ground is a balanced track. Bowlers might get some movement with the new ball.
The temperature is expected to range between 16 and 30 degrees Celsius. There could be a cloud cover throughout the day.
PROBABLE XIS AUSTRIA
Arsalan Arif, Iqbal Hossain, Mirza Ahsan, Razmal Shigiwal, Shahil Momin, Mark Simpson-Parker, Mehar Cheema, Abdullah Akbarjan, Itibarshah Deedar, Jaweed Sadran, Sahel Zadran.
Satyadeep Ashwathnarayana, Ali Farasat, Zeeshan Kukikhel, Kalum Akurugoda, Khaibar Deldar, Mark Fontaine, Harshvardhan Mandhyan, Stan Ahuja, Akramullah Malikzada, Ali Yilmaz, Sandeep Mohandas.
Hungary looks like a more settled unit than the opposition, so expect them to come out on top.
Prediction: Hungary to win.