Promising Bangladesh face spirited Afghanistan

The Tigers need to win in order to stay in contention for the semi-finals spot

Promising Bangladesh face spirited Afghanistan PHOTO: Reuters

Bangladesh's batting, built on the promotion of Shakibal Hasan at number three, has been one of the highlights of the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, characterised by consistently good scores. After hunting down a target of 322 against West Indies in just 41.3 overs, Bangladesh fought admirably in a 382-run chase against Australia, finishing with an impressive 333/8.

The bowling, however, has been their undoing, as Bangladesh have conceded scores in excess of 320 in each of their last three completed games. Against a strong Afghanistan bowling attack, Bangladesh's own bowlers will have to step up to make life easier for their batsmen.

Afghanistan, having lost to India by a narrow margin of 11 runs on Saturday, will be filled with a lot of self-belief and motivation when they take the field on Monday. With experience of the conditions in Southampton, Gulbadin Naib will expect his spinners to weave their magic once again against an in-form Bangladesh batting line-up. Their batsmen though, will have to focus on staying at the crease for longer periods to get the desired result.

As far as players to watch out for during the match is concerned, Bangladesh’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim has showed signs of good form as he scored an unbeaten century against Australia at Trent Bridge. Rahim, who scored a match-winning 71 when these two sides met at the 2015 World Cup, will once again look to set it up for his side in a must-win game.

Meanwhile Afghanistan’s all-rounder Mohammad Nabi is the most experienced player in the set-up, demonstrated his skills as an all-rounder, with wickets and runs against India. With Bangladesh's top order studded with left-handers, the veteran cricketer will fancy his chances with his off-spin, and will also look to repeat his performance with the bat.

Afghanistan are still searching for their first win of the tournament as they have been on the wrong side of result in all of their previous six matches. On the other hand, Bangladesh have five points from six games and they need to win all of their remaining matches in the tournament in order to stay in contention for the semi-finals spot.

The conditions in Southampton on Monday should be warm, with partial sunshine and a bit of humidity. The dryness will bring spin into play, much like it did during the game between India and Afghanistan.


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

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