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The positives and negatives for Bangladesh from the series against Afghanistan

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Bangladesh defeated Afghanistan 2-1 in the three-match ODI series.

Bangladesh celebrate their 100th ODI win as they beat Afghanistan in the third ODI at Mirpur comprehensively

While the first two matches were nail-biters, the series decider proved to be one-way traffic. After posting 279 for 8 in 50 overs, it was expected, Afghanistan would run the Tigers for their money yet again. But in the end, Bangladesh unleashed their true colours and maintained their impressive home run as they nailed the Afghans in a brutal fashion.

So far, it had been a series played with the spirit of competitiveness. One could enjoy some thrilling display of 50-over cricket and both the teams conveyed a message, the charm of 50-over format is still alive and will continue to trigger excitement amid the popularity of Twenty20.

Also read: For Bangladesh, the Afghanistan series is a lot more than just cricket

From Bangladesh’s perspective, even though, they looked a bit scratchy at the start of the series but rediscovered themselves to stamp authority in the third ODI. Bangladesh do have positive gains from the series, but yes, there had been some negative sides as well.  

The positive gains

Firstly, The ODI series finished without any sad incidents on and off the field. The series helped to assure everyone, Bangladesh is a safe place to play cricket. Since the terrorist attack in Gulshan, Dhaka on July 1, Bangladesh was at risk of staging any international cricket matches. But, thankfully, this series has ebbed away the doubts and fears and the nation is all set to welcome the English team.

Secondly, the emergence of a new talent named Mosaddek Hossain and the comeback of the old workhorse Mosharraf Hossain indicate how strong the bench strength of Bangladesh is. Mosaddek had been knocking at the doors of the national selectors through his superlative displays with the bat in the domestic circuit. The selectors gave him the opportunity and it took no time for him to showcase his abilities with the bat and ball.

Whereas, Mosharraf was a forgotten name in Bangladesh cricket. He was banned for playing in the Indian Cricket League and served punishments during the spot-fixing saga at the BPL in 2013. But such hurdles didn’t hold him back as he continued to impress with the ball in domestic cricket and earned the faith of the selectors. The third ODI was an acid test for him and thankfully, his bowling came good and surely, those wickets helped him to eradicate the pathetic memories.

Lastly, the decision to promote Sabbir Ahmed at number 3 was a good one. More often, this guy is regarded as a slogger and Twenty20 material, but one thing the critics always forget to notice is his ability to keep the ball on the ground via sweet timing. This guy is blessed with a great technique and should not be wasted as just a slogger but deserves to feature at the top of the order.

The negatives

Firstly, Bangladesh were found wanting during the power-plays. In the first ODI, all of a sudden, they lost their way while the same happened in the second and third ODI as well.

In the third ODI, the Tigers were well poised to post a total more than 300, but as soon as the power-play showed up, the Tigers failed to capitalise the good work and struggled – they kept on losing wickets and hardly played the big shots. 

Bangladesh do have prolific hitters of the ball who are ideal to utilise the field set up during a power-play. But sadly, Bangladesh have always struggled to reap a rich harvest during that period. This problem needs to be sorted out.

Secondly, if sending Sabbir at number 3 was a good decision, wasting Mahmudullah Riyad at number 3 and 6 was not a praiseworthy one. In cricket, some players are extremely successful in particular positions and feel at ease while playing there. In case of Mahmudullah, he has proved a point while playing at number 4 position and somehow, he comes to his very best in that position. He averages 74.13 while batting at that number in ODIs. It will be sensible enough to make Mahmudullah a permanent figure at number 4.

Thirdly, even though Bangladesh won the ODI series, they dropped three crucial ranking points. The Tigers had entered the series on 98 points, leading 10th-ranked Afghanistan by 50 points, but has finished on 95 points after it conceded three points following the second ODI, which Afghanistan won by two wickets.

Seventh-ranked Bangladesh’s loss of points mean their gap against ninth-ranked Pakistan has been reduced from 11 points to just eight points, which can potentially be cut down to six points if Pakistan blank out the West Indies 3-0.

If Pakistan win 3-0 against the West Indies, then it will move to 89 points, while the West Indies will plunge to 88 points.

Bangladesh’s next assignment is against the fifth-ranked England, who are twelve points ahead of Bangladesh. If England win all three ODIs against Bangladesh, then they will rise to 109 points while Bangladesh will slide to 91 points.

In contrast, if Bangladesh win all the ODIs against Engalnd, then it will rise to 101 points and ahead of Sri Lanka by a fraction of a point.

Bangladesh need to give their best shot against England as because their seventh position is at risk and according to the new rules, along with the hosts, seven highest-ranked sides on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2017 will qualify automatically for the 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, while the bottom four sides will get a second chance to qualify for the pinnacle 50-over tournament when they will feature in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 along with the top six sides from the ICC World Cricket League.

Lastly, Around the 30th over of the third ODI, an individual from the VIP gallery made his way to the field and ran towards Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who was fielding at mid on. The mash was surprised to see the spectator on the field, but eventually hugged the individual and requested the security officials not to hurt him. 

Yes, from an emotional point of view, this can be a touchy moment, but when you are planning to prove your worth from a security perspective, this was not something to cheer.

It is widely regarded that the security at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium is very strict and amid the tight security how could that individual make his way to field remains a moot question. The Bangladesh Cricket Board is trying extremely hard to ensure a top class security for the visiting teams, but this incident hinted about loopholes which need to be corrected as early as possible before the start of the England series


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