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Tigers eye win over Afghans to keep semis hope alive

Published: June 24, 2019 11:32:48 | Updated: June 25, 2019 11:01:18


Bangladesh ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan bats in the nets during a practice session

Bangladesh are badly in need of a win against all-losers Afghanistan they are set to play at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Monday to keep their semifinal dream alive by raising the point tally.

The match will take place at 3:30pm (BdST) and 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.

The Afghans just fell short of 11 runs. Had not Shami taken the wicket of Mohammad Nabi in the third ball of the last over, the story could have been different for the lads.

However, Bangladesh have to be aware of Afghanistan when locking horns with them on Monday. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza-led Tigers should be more cautious, especially against the spin attack of Afghanistan that had much diversity.

At the same time, Afghanistan have always been a team who are more dangerous when they get Bangladesh as their opponents.

Both the teams clashed in seven ODIs till the date. Bangladesh came out victorious in four of them. In the other three, Afghanistan managed to snatch wins.

Bangladesh faced Afghanistan for the last time during the Asia Cup 2018 in UAE when the Tigers lost one match to them before registering 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.

He 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 time, Bangladesh could have difficulty tackling the challenge of Nabi -- the veteran all-rounder who has a good record against the Tigers.

However, Bangladesh are more confident and well-equipped this time around. They look more disciplined in the middle as well.

Mohammad Mithun, middle-order batsman of Bangladesh, said on Sunday that Bangladesh will play against Afghanistan with more discretion.

"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," Mithun said.

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.

He might not be available for the next game and it means Rubel Hossain will continue as the third seamer with Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman, he said. 

However, Mosaddek Hossain, the right-arm all-rounder, is fit to participate in the next game. He was out of action in the last game due to a shoulder problem.

Bangladesh has so far played six matches in the World Cup and registered two wins, of which one is against South Africa and another against West Indies.

Bangladesh's probable XI against Afghanistan: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Rubel Hossain, and Mustafizur Rahman

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