World Cup, Preview: Bangladesh Look To Keep Semis Hopes Alive With Win Over Afghanistan
Bangladesh take on Afghanistan in a World Cup 2019 league-stage match at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Monday.
Bangladesh will be hoping to keep their hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals when they face an Afghanistan team that have failed to get any points on the board but have won hearts by giving one of the World Cup 2019 favourites, India, a run for their money. While Bangladesh's batting has been their strong point, Afghanistan have relied mostly on their spin bowling arsenal. Afghan spinners have not had the best of times in World Cup 2019 but against India they were right on the money, stifling India's famed batting line-up. On Monday, at The Rose Bowl in Southampton -- the same venue they played India -- Afghanistan will be up against another strong batting side.
After hunting down a target of 322 against the West Indies in just 41.3 overs, Bangladesh fought admirably in a 382-run chase against Australia, finishing with an impressive 333 for eight.
The promotion of Shakib Al Hasan up the order has been one of the highlights of the World Cup. The all-rounder is just 22 runs behind Australia's David Warner, who is the tournament top scorer.
The bowling, however, has been their undoing, as Bangladesh have conceded scores in excess of 320 in each of their last three completed games and the bowlers will have to step up to make life easier for their batsmen.
On the other hand, Afghanistan, who are still in search of their maiden win in the tournament, will be drawing a lot of positive from their previous game against India.
The Afghans fell agonisingly short of India's target, losing by 11 runs on Saturday. But the team will take a lot of confidence from the fact that they restricted the famed Indian batting unit to 224 for eight.
Given their experience of the conditions in Southampton, captain Gulbadin Naib will expect his spinners to weave their magic once again against an in-form Bangladesh batting line-up.
Bangladesh are sixth in the World Cup 2019 points table with two wins, three losses and a no result in six matches played. Afghanistan are rock bottom in the table with zero points, having lost all six of their matches.
The weather is expected to be warm. The dryness of the pitch is expected to bring spin into play, much like it did during the game between India and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (captain), 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.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Abu Jayed, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun.
Match Starts at 3 pm IST.
(With PTI inputs)