Bangladesh has been brilliant in this world cup so far. After defeating South Africa to start their campaign they had few rough games but they bounced back brilliantly against West Indies. Even though they lost to Australia, their fight and the ability to reach 333 despite chasing a huge total shows their resilience and skill. Shakib Al Hasan has been in brilliant form and so has been few of their other batters. Liton Das has done well as well with the bat and so has Mushfiqur Rahim who scored that brilliant hundred against the Aussies. Even though their batting has been in supreme form, their bowling hasn’t been able to rise up to the challenge yet.
They have conceded 300+ on multiple occasions so far and would like to iron out some combination issues in this game. Their pace attack hasn’t been able to pick wickets at the top and their finger spinners haven’t been able to make the necessary impact so far in the competition. The Afghanistan team should not be taken lightly and their performance against India should give them a great amount of confidence.
The Afghanistan team has a problem quite opposite to Bangladesh. While their bowling has done reasonably well, their batting has struggled through the tournament. Their batsmen failed to chase two modest totals against Sri Lanka and India. They would want to correct that with some discipline and patience in the game against Bangladesh. Mohammad Nabi coming into some sort of batting form would be a huge boost for Afghanistan. They would have also been happy with the way Rashid Khan bounced back after the drubbing he received against England. Afghanistan needs to do a lot more with the bat if they need to challenge Bangladesh.
The one positive they have is that the weather in England is getting warmer which means the pitches are drier giving their spinners lots of help.
Head to head:
Bangladesh and Afghanistan have met 7 times in ODIs and it has been pretty close between these two teams. Bangladesh holds a slight advantage of 4-3 in ODIs so far.
Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh): Tamim Iqbal was Bangladesh’s best batter in ODIs prior to this tournament. He has had a disappointing tournament so far and even though the middle order has done some heavy lifting so far him coming back to some sort of form will be really good for the Tigers going forward. This probably is his best chance so far to get back to some rhythm.
Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh): Afghanistan batting plays spin with some sort of comfort. Even though they did struggle a bit against Chahal, they did negotiate them better than the Pacers. Mustafizur being Bangladesh’s best pacer, needs to take the lead in keeping the pressure on the Afghanistan batters.
Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan): Mohammad Nabi has been bowling well in this world cup but he was struggling with the bat until the India game over the weekend. He looked in great tough during that innings of 52 and he might want to carry on the same form against Bangladesh with the bat as well as with the ball.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan): Mujeeb took the new ball against India and accounted for Rohit Sharma who was India’s best batter so far in the World Cup. Mujeep might once again be entrusted with the responsibility and Afghanistan will hope he delivers with the new ball once again.
What they said?
“You saw against India. India has the best batting attack all over the world. So if the wicket helps our spinners, maybe it’s very difficult for everyone, not only Bangladesh,” Said Afghanistan Skipper Gulbadin Naib ahead of the game against Bangladesh
“I think we still have a chance,” Tamim said, about Bangladesh’s chances to make the semi-final. “I don’t think any of my team-mates are thinking along those lines. We have a chance if we win three matches. If God forbid we don’t have anything to play for, then we will think about No. 5.”
Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Mahmadullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mushrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman
Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Ikram Alikhil, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Even though Afghanistan look at much better side in the field compared to their initial games, Bangladesh is still the favorites to win this game. The batting prowess of Bangladesh is the difference between these two teams and it probably will be the decisive factor in this game.