BSS
  23 Jun 2024, 12:41

Tigers keen to keep winning spree against Afghans in ICC tournament

DHAKA, June 23, 2024 (BSS)-Bangladesh will take on Afghanistan in their last match of the Super 8 phase with an aim to keep their slim hopes of making T20 World Cup semi-final alive at Kingstown in St Vincent on Tuesday as the match starts at 6.30 AM (Bangladesh Time).

After losing two straight defeats to Australia and India, Bangladesh's hope to make it last four stages looked all but ended but a stunning Afghanistan victory over mighty Australia gave them a slim hope.

However, there was many ifs and buts involved if Bangladesh would like to reach semifinal. Firstly, Australia will have to taste a defeat to India by a large margin and Bangladesh will have to beat Afghanistan by a handsome margin. Only in that case, Bangladesh could sneak to semifinal. If Australia beat India in a match that will be held on Monday night, then Bangladesh will all but exit from the race even before taking on Afghanistan.

Even if Australia win, Bangladesh will be out there to restore some pride as they would like to bow out with a victory in Super 8 phase. At the same time, Bangladesh's victory will essentially ruin Afghanistan's hopes to make the semifinal.

A Bangladesh victory looked on the cards even though Afghanistan have been in top form. The World Cup stat suggested that Afghanistan have never won a match against Bangladesh in ICC tournament, be it in 50-over or T20 over cricket. In T20 World Cup, however, the two teams met only once in 2014 and Bangladesh won that game by nine wickets after bowling Afghanistan out for just 72 runs.

Overall in T20 format, Afghanistan have the slight edge, winning six and losing five against Bangladesh in 11 meetings.

Afghanistan lost their first game to India by 47 runs but stunned Australia by 21 runs, defending 148-6. The St Vincent pitch in which they beat Australia is also a lucky ground for Bangladesh mainly for its slow-paced nature that gave the Tigers a home like condition out of home.

Afghanistan have the bowling attack to thrive in St Vincent pitch which they demonstrated against Australia but still Bangladesh would be favourite. Bangladesh in fact play in this kind of wicket throughout the year at home and so they will be further bolstered by the pitch.

In St Vincent, Bangladesh won their match against Netherlands and Nepal to make it Super 8 phase. However they had to play their first two matches of Super 8 in Antigua and as expectedly they failed to show any skill on true pitch. They lost the first match to Australia by 28 runs on DLS before conceding a 50-run defeat to India.

While mathematically Bangladesh still has the chance to make it semifinal, its ace allrounder Shakib Al Hasan think otherwise. All that he wants to put a good show against Afghanistan to have winning end to the tournament.

"To be honest, I don't think we have a chance to play the semi-final anymore after today's loss. But having said that, the next game will be an opportunity for us to get a win on our belt before we finish up this tournament," Shakib said.

"We'd love to finish this tournament on a high. We have to face Afghanistan which is a very good side. So, we have to be at our best to be able to win against them."

Bangladesh's first XI against India was much criticized and it is believed that they would tinker with the squad further against Afghanistan.
 
Squad:

Bangladesh: Najmul Hossain Shanto (c), Taskin Ahmed, Litton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Shakib Al Hasan, Tawhid Hridoy, Mahmud Ullah Riyad, Jaker Ali Anik, Tanvir Islam, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Rishad Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib. Travelling reserves: Afif Hossain, Hasan Mahmud.

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan (c), Nangyal Kharoti, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik.

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