Prescription for Tigers in Afghanistan Mission

The world cup mission, Bangladesh with Vision for semi final now hinges on winning three remaining matches against Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Bangladesh in current form are competent of winning all if they can hold on their composure. But the most important for them is winning against Afghanistan and winning it big.

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Bangladesh so far have won matches against South Africa and West Indies, went down fighting against Australia, New Zealand and England. Rain robbed them of a possible point against Sri Lanka.

Afghanistan on the other hand are languishing at the bottom of the table with 6 out of 6 losses. But they looked very impressive in their last match against tournament hot favorite India. With a little bit of luck they could have caused a major upset turning the table on India.

Bangladesh play a very important match against Afghanistan today at the same Southampton Ground where India toiled and sweated against Afghanistan. It will not be a cake walk for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh batsmen are in prolific form contributing to match scores above 300. Tamim is getting back into strides. Flamboyant Soumya needs a bit more discipline in his approach, Shakib and Mushfiqur are on the top of their game. So is Mahmudullah.

Hope Mosaddek gets back today after missing the match against Australia. Bowling and fielding need a bit tightening. Bangladesh appears ready for the challenge.

On the other hand, much vaunted Afghanistan spin attack after struggling in earlier matches turned around against mighty India at Southampton. Prolific batsmen like Rohit, Virat, Dhoni, and Rahul even perspired against Mujeeb, Rashid and Nabi.

Bangladesh play Afghanistan today at the same venue Southampton. I would rather say this match is going to be make or break for Bangladesh. An impressive win today may give Bangladesh required incentives for even winning against Pakistan and India.

Young Mujeeb is a mystery bowler. I am still unsure whether he is an off spinner or leg spinner? Whether he delivers Carom Ball, Doosra or Googly? Afghanistan press him at the top. Bangladesh openers Soumya and Tamim must deal with him with utmost care. There is no need to try and blast him. Milk him with singles, playing in the gap with soft hands. Runs can come from ordinary pacers at the other end. There is no harm scoring 30-40 in the first ten overs.

Then comes Rashid and Nabi. Bangladesh have played them a lot and must not panic. The spin trio would ball 30 overs. It will be great if Bangladesh manage 100 runs off their 30 overs. It is very much possible scoring 150-160 runs from the remaining 20 overs of other bowlers.

Bangladesh may need reshuffling a little bit of the batting order. Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah are the better players of spin. Mosaddek is also good. Hope Mahmudullah is slotted at least at number 5 and have opportunity for partnering with Mushfiqur when Nabi and Rashid will be operating.

Southampton is a big ground. Trying lofty shots may not be ideal. Spinners should preferably be played along the ground as much as possible unless they deliver full toss or half tracker.

If Bangladesh can manage a score of 260-270 they can very well defend. Shakib, Mehedi and Mosaddek are no less competent spinners. They will exploit the condition if wicket turns and grips. Mashrafe, Mustafiz and Saifuddin/Rubel are far better bowlers than Afghan pacers. I do not think this Afghan team can score 250 against Bangladesh bowling.

Having said all above, we must bear in mind that Bangladesh do not great records against Afghanistan in ODI. Off the 7 matches the score is 4-3 marginally in favor of Bangladesh. There is no scope of complacency. Bangladesh must not loose focus at any stage.

Mosaddek had some niggles which forced him out of match against Australia. Sabbir replacing him did not deliver. Hope he would be back today. He is a good player against spin, can tee off quick. He is also a useful spinner.

We are a bit perplexed from conflicting news about Saifuddin’s fitness. His presence would be crucial for the match for giving penetrative edge to Bangladesh attack.

Hope team tigers has worked out the strategy for blunting Afghan’s spin attack and strangle them with diverse bowling strategy.


Saleque Sufi

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