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Asia Cup Super Four: Afghanistan vs Bangladesh Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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The laughs continue in Asia Cup 2018. From the scheduling farce to Bangladesh players and selectors not even knowing that two players have been brought into the squad, it’s just been peak banter at times. But amid all that, there is a high stakes clash today – the complete opposite of Thursday’s clash between these two sides.

Afghanistan’s cricket in this tournament has been terrific. They have forced each of their three opponents to chase 250+, and only Pakistan were able to get there, just. One of the sides who weren’t able to get there was indeed Bangladesh, with Afghanistan pummeling them by 136 runs just a few days ago. The template is set for Afghanistan against a Bangladesh side on edge – can they keep their tournament alive?

With Bangladesh, their management leaves plenty to be desired. With a little unrest at the moment after two heavy losses and two players brought into the squad without the players/selectors even knowing, they will need a big effort today to overcome a good Afghanistan team. Their performance against India was painful to watch – you would find less dots in a children’s “join the dots” book, and against a quality spin attack here, Bangladesh will have to find a way to do much better than their last two efforts. Like Afghanistan, their tournament is on the line, so can they step up?

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Key to an Afghanistan win

Afghanistan’s batting is their weaker point, but it has been an impressive showing from them so far in Asia Cup 2018. Three targets of 250+ have made life very difficult for their opponents, and one gets the feeling that if they bat first and bat well, they’ll be too good for Bangladesh again. 
Hashmatullah Shahidi’s knock against Pakistan was magnificent, highlighted by his shift of gears at the right time. Asghar Afghan played his most significant knock of his tournament, and a repeat effort by Afghanistan in this clash will hold them in great stead ahead of their clash with India, that could be a shot at reaching the Final.
Also, Afghanistan’s spinners spun Bangladesh into a web so large on Thursday that it would not have been out of place in central Australia. Rashid Khan destroyed Bangladesh, backed up by the talented Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi. Against a Bangladesh side that is seemingly unable to rotate the strike, accurate, relentless spin bowling could prove too hot for Bangladesh to handle.

Key to a Bangladesh win

After the optimism following their win over Sri Lanka, Bangladesh have crashed significantly. In their last two games, against two excellent spin attacks in India and Afghanistan, the Tigers have scored 292 runs in 91.2 overs, which is a scoring rate that some fans out there would call too slow even in Test Cricket.
Their shot selection has been unbelievably poor at times, created by a complete lack of strike rotation. A mammoth 190 dot balls were on display against India, and they simply can’t display the same incompetence again. For that to happen, Shakib Al Hasan, who can play very stupidly when frustrated, needs to step up and play a long innings, and so too Mushfiqur Rahim. Ideally, Bangladesh would like to bat first to get a total on the board, rather than chase, but the batting has to improve either way.
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Possible teams

Afghanistan’s pace attack was a bit of a let down against Pakistan, so it remains to be seen whether any changes will be made in that department.
Afghanistan possible XI: 1. Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2. Ihsanullah, 3. Rahmat Shah, 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi, 5. Asghar Afghan (c), 6. Mohammad Nabi, 7. Najibullah Zadran, 8. Gulbadin Naib, 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Aftab Alam, 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
For Bangladesh, well, it’s a farce. Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar were brought in without the knowledge of any of the players. Either or both could come in and open, looking at Liton Das and Nazmul Hossain Shanto’s struggles.
Bangladesh possible XI: 1. Liton Das/Imrul Kayes, 2. Nazmul Hossain Shanto/Soumya Sarkar, 3. Shakib Al Hasan, 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5. Mahmudullah, 6. Mohmmad Mithun/Mominul Haque, 7. Mossadek Hossain, 8. Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9. Mashrafe Mortaza (c), 10. Rubel Hossain/Abu Hider, 11. Mustafizur Rahman

Stats and Facts

  • Bangladesh have scored 292/20 in 91.2 overs in their last two games combined (3.20 runs per over).
  • Afghanistan have beaten Bangladesh four times across formats in 2018 (three T20Is, one ODI).
  • Bangladesh have lost their last 11 ODIs with Tamim Iqbal not in the side.

Prediction

Both sides are very capable of putting on a good performance when needed. Rightly, though, Afghanistan are favourites, thanks to the much better cricket they are playing. 
Can’t see anything other than an Afghanistan win. Can Bangladesh surprise? It remains to be seen.
Thanks for reading!
PS, looking to improve your cricketing skills? More wickets? More runs? More fun? Check out some great tips from Cricket Secrets! You can visit here.
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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