Southampton, June 23 (IANS) Afghanistan, who gave India a run for their money, will be aiming to replicate that performance and earn their first win in the ongoing World Cup when they take on Bangladesh at the Rose Bowl Cricket Stadium on Monday.
After being comprehensively beaten in the first four games, Afghanistan came out with a much improved performance against tournament favourites England and India.
Their bowling unit — which was taken for plenty by England as they posted 397/8 – delivered a commanding performance in their next fixture and restricted the famed Indian batting line-up for a below par total of 224. They had a great chance of causing the biggest upset of the ongoing tournament. However, their batters failed to match their bowling performance and barring Mohammad Nabi, none could show the grit and calm as Afghanistan lost a nail-biting encounter by 11 runs against the Men in Blue on Saturday.
Thus, Gulbadin Naib would hope that both his batters and bowlers perform well as a unit against Bangladesh which have looked quite convincing in the ongoing tournament.
Bangladesh’s batting has been a revelation in this World Cup and has relied mainly on Shakib al Hasan who is among the top five run-getters of the tournament. After hunting down a target of 322 against West Indies with ease, Bangladesh fought admirably in a 382-run chase against Australia, finishing with an impressive 333/8.
However, it’s their bowling which has undone the batsmen’s work. They have conceded scores in excess of 320 in each of their last three completed games.
And against a formidable Afghanistan bowling attack, Bangladesh’s own bowlers will have to step up to make life easier for their batsmen.
Bangladesh are almost out of the contention of making it to the semi-finals with five points from six games. However, if they manage to win all their three remaining games and results of matches of other teams go in their favour, the Bangla Tigers might sneak in the top four at the end of the tournament.
Squads: Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah (wk), Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ikram Ali Khil
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Abu Jayed, Liton Das (wk), Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal