Asia Cup 2018, Match 6: Afghanistan vs Bangladesh – Preview
Having already qualified for the Super Four stage after knocking out Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will play the Asia Cup Group B last league fixture in Abu Dhabi on September 20 (Thursday).
Meanwhile, Both teams could rest players, but the extra travel puts a more significant strain on Bangladesh. They have some injury issues, so relaxing Shakib Al Hasan (finger) and Mushfiqur Rahim (rib) would make sense. It would also make sense for their captain Mashrafe Mortaza to rest on Thursday, instead of taking on the strain of back-to-back games for what is necessarily a dead rubber. The likes of Abu Hider, Nazmul Islam and Ariful Haque will look to gain more exposure ahead of more significant challenges for Bangladesh.
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Afghanistan will focus on a familiar template: bat steadily and look upto their pacers to provide support to the spinners. The openers did a good job in the last match which allowed that middle-order to go all out. Captain Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, and Najibullah Zadran, meanwhile, will look to make more substantial contributions with the bat. But the key will be the three spinners – Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Nabi.
It might be a dead rubber, but both teams will be keen to build momentum and confidence going into the business end of this Asia Cup.
Pitch & Conditions
The temperature will once again be on the higher side making it tough for the cricketers. However, it is likely to fall as the game progresses. Dew was either not present in Abu Dhabi, or did not affect judging from the evidence of Afghanistan spinners’ total dominance over Sri Lanka.
Both Bangladesh and Afghanistan will look to top the Group B in this Asia Cup and go forward.
If Afghanistan looks to rotate their squad, wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad and seamers Aftab Alam and Guladin Naib might get a break. Munir Ahmed Kakar, Samiullah Shenwari, Sayed Shirzad, and Wafadar are options to replace them.
Predicted XI: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan (c), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Bangladesh do have a forced change following Tamim Iqbal’s absence. Nazmul Hossain is likely to replace the left-hander at the top. Both teams might also contemplate rotating the squad with a gruelling schedule ahead. Mushfiqur Rahim might be rested, and either Mominul Haque or Ariful Haque might replace him.
Probable XI: Liton Das, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman
Although it is a dead rubber, both Bangladesh and Afghanistan will like to finish things on a high. However, Bangladesh will look to rest some which give an advantage to the Afghans.
Thus, Afghanistan will start this Asia Cup Group B with a slight edge on their side.
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