Will Bangladesh rebound or choke again?
After consecutive heavy defeats in the Asia Cup, Bangladesh face spin-strengthened Afghanistan in their second Super Four match at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Bangladesh’s form has gone out of tempo after their first match win against Sri Lanka. They lost to Afghanistan by 136 runs in the last group match and suffered seven-wicket loss to mighty India in the first Super Four match the next day.
Bangladesh’s batting has taken a big step back after the loss of Tamim Iqbal due to injury. They failed to reach 200 in their last two matches. Seniors’ performances as well as the juniors’ have been a worry for the management. Shakib Al Hasan took four wickets in last face-off against Afghanistan but he is yet to fire with the bat.
Afghanistan, the Group B winners, came ever so close to beating Pakistan on Friday. Pakistan eventually went got over the line by three wickets in the last over.
The Afghans possess a threat with spin twins Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Rashid was devastating with the bat against the Tigers the other night. Hashmatullah Shahidi scored 97* against Pakistan in the last match. However, their star all-rounder Mohammad Nabi is yet to fire.
Bangladesh selectors recalled batsmen Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar in the midway of last match. Having left the country today for Asia Cup, either or both of these two could get in the XI in place of Liton Das and Nazmul Hossain Shanto, who are yet to prove themselves.
Afghanistan are likely to unchange their batting order. However, they could amend their pace attack.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan (captain), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Bangladesh: Liton Das/Imrul Kayes, Nazmul Hossain Shanto/Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mosaddek Hossain, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (captain), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman