Striving to keep their semi-final hopes alive and stay relevant in the tournament, Bangladesh will look to add a win against their name as they face a determined Afghanistan in a do-or-die ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 encounter at the Hampshire Bowl on Monday.
With five points in half a dozen matches, Bangladesh are at the sixth spot in the points tally while Afghanistan form the rock-bottom of the table.
England’s defeat to Sri Lanka has also breathed air into the expectations of the Bangla tigers and they would look to make the most of the situation at hand by adding a couple of invaluable points against their name.
In any case, Bangladesh can only make it to the final four if they win all their remaining matches and results of some of the other matches go in their favour.
The Bangladesh batsmen have been in good form in the competition – they not only chased down a mammoth 322 runs against the West Indies in just 41.3 overs but also batted superbly while chasing 382 runs against the Aussies and managed 333/8.
Shakib Al Hasan’s promotion up the order has been one of the stories of the World Cup and the all-rounder has already scored a couple of hundreds in the competition and contributed with some wickets as well.
The bowling, however, has been a reason of worry for Bangladesh. Bangladesh bowlers have conceded more than 320 runs in each of their last three completed ODIs, not a good statistic if you are a Bangladesh supporter. A Bangladesh bowling unit which makes batsmen’s job easier will make the men-in-green an efficient bowling unit.
On the other hand, Afghanistan, who are still looking for their first win in the competition will draw a great deal of positives from their previous clash against India on Saturday where they nearly had the match in their control, but lost to a far more experienced side by just 11 runs.
The Afghans have at least something to boast about now – having restricted a famed and mighty Indian batting order to only 224 runs. Given the conditions and the wicket, Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib will expect his spinners to stay effective against an in-form Bangladesh batting line-up on Monday. The batsmen, however, should concentrate on staying at the wicket for a longer time, to begin with, and then try and look for runs once a stable foundation is built.
Interestingly, Afghans have managed to play out the 50 overs just once in the competition in a game in which they did not even try to win against England.
The weather is expected to be hot and warm and the dryness of the pitch may bring spin into the picture, much like the India-Afghanistan game. However, make no mistake, it was two fast bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami who made the difference for India in that World Cup clash against Afghanistan at the same venue.
Live action begins from 3 pm (IST) onwards at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground.
Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (C), Aftab Alam, Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Samiullah Shinwari, Rahmat Shah, Noor Ali Zadran, Ikram Alikhil (wk).
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Abu Jayed, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun.