To Keep their semi-final dream alive in a tough situation in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup, Bangladesh badly needs a win against Afghanistan on Monday at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
To stay in the last four battle, the Tigers have to beat all-losers Afghanistan on Monday to raise their points tally that can help them to the dream semi-finals berth.
The match will take place at 3:30pm (BdST) and will be telecast through Maasrangatv, Gtv, Btv along with Rabbithole (rabbitholebd.com) and Bioscope (bioscopelive.com).
In the last game against India, Afghanistan displayed an imperious performance at the same venue. India escaped Afghanistan scare narrowly relying on a hat-trick of Mohammad Shami in the last over of the match.
They just fell short of 11 runs. Had not Shami took the wicket of Mohammad Nabi in the third ball of the last over, the story could have been different for Afghans lads.
However, Bangladesh has to be aware of Afghanistan when they will lock horns with them on Monday. Especially, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza-led Tigers should be more cautious against the spin attack of Afghanistan that had much diversity.
At the same time, Afghanistan has always been a team who are more dangerous when they get Bangladesh as their opponent.
Both the teams locked horns in seven ODIs till the date. Bangladesh came up victorious in four of them. In the other three, Afghanistan managed to seal the game for them. This is stat is enough to prove how tough the Afghans are for the Tigers.
Bangladesh faced Afghanistan for the last time during the Asia Cup 2018 in UAE when the Tigers lost one match to them before register a win. Rashid Khan, the premium spinner of Afghanistan, played the pivotal role to outplay Bangladesh on September 20 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, taking two wickets conceding only 13 runs in nine overs.
It is often said that Rashid is not effective in ODIs as he is in T20s. But his stats are here to establish another idea. In his T20Is career, Rashid took each wicket conceding 11.56 runs. And in ODIs, he conceded 16.89 runs. The difference is not too much.
Rashid played five ODIs against Bangladesh and bowled 49 overs conceding only 3.46 runs per over. So the Afghans will rely heavily on him in tomorrow’s game. At the same, Bangladesh could find trouble to tackle the challenge of Nabi. The veteran all-rounder also has a good record against Bangladesh.
However, Bangladesh is more confident and equipped well this time around. They look more disciplined in the middle as well. Before coming to this game, Bangladesh played six matches in the World Cup and registered two wins. The first win was against South Africa and then, they outplayed West Indies chasing a big total.
Bangladesh can expect to replicate the same dominance against Afghanistan as well. On the other hand, Afghanistan also played six matches but yet to get any point.
Mohammad Mithun, middle-order batsman of Bangladesh, said on Sunday that Bangladesh will play against Afghanistan with more discretion.
He said, “If we lose against Australia people will accept it because they are a big team. But if we lose against Afghanistan, (it will create much chaos). Everyone wants us to win against Afghanistan.”
“Every match is important for us (at this stage of the event). We take the field to win every game. But the opponent is Afghanistan, we are more careful to seal this game.”
After the Monday’s game, Bangladesh will take their two sub-continental rivals on India and Pakistan.
The Tigers have to registers win in those games as well, which will not be an easy task for them. At the same time, Bangladesh needs to wait for the results of the other matches as well.
In this match, Bangladesh might miss the service of Mohammad Saifuddin, who also missed the last match due to a back injury.
Akram Khan, chairman of Bangladesh Cricket Board’s Cricket Operation Committee, told the media that Saifuddin is not declared fit by the physio. So might not be available for the next game. It means Rubel Hossain will continue as the third seamer with Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman.
However, Mosaddek Hossain, the right-arm all-rounder, is fit to participate in the next game. He was out of the action in the last game due to a shoulder problem.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh team made their practices at the game venue (at the Rose Bowl in Southampton) on Sunday.
Bangladesh’s probable XI: TamimIqbal, SoumyaSarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, SabbirRahman, MahmudullahRiyad, MosaddekHossain, MehidyHasanMiraz, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, RubelHossain and MustafizurRahman