After cementing their spot in the Super Fours, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are set to face each other in the sixth match of Asia Cup 2018 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, September 20. Both the teams are coming on the back of crushing wins over Sri Lanka and ensured their place in the Super Fours stage of the tournament. But neither will be taking this match lightly as they would want to take momentum with them into the next round.
Bangladesh have a slight 3-2 advantage over Afghanistan when it comes to head-to-head record. Whule In their most recent ODI clash Bangladesh outplayed Afghanistan by 141 runs. It was the final game of the three-match series played at Dhaka in 2016. Electing to bat first, Bangladesh posted 279/8 and then wrapped up Afghanistan's innings for just 138 runs.
Afghanistan are showing impressive form in the fifty-overs format with seven wins in their last eight ODI's. Their only defeat in those matches came against Ireland at Belfast last month. In their most recent Asia Cup encounter against Sri Lanka on September 17, Afghanistan put up a decent batting performance to score 249 before displaying a fabulous bowling performance to dismiss their opponents for 158 inside 42 overs.
Batting: Rahmat Shah has carried his impressive form with him from Ireland. The in-form top-order batsman scored 72 against Sri Lanka and he is expected to replicate it against Bangladesh as well. While Ihsanullah Janat and his opening partner Mohammad Shahzad looked promising in their knocks of 45 and 34 respectively and the team will be hoping for another 50+ opening stand from them.
Allrounder Mohammad Nabi and skipper Asghar Afghan are a key figures in the middle order and are known for their innings-rebuilding skills, if the top order fails to contribute.
Bowling : Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are the go-to men for Afghanistan when it comes to bowl. Both shared four wickets between them and caused plenty of problems for the Sri Lankan batsmen and these two are once again expected to weave the magic against Bangla Tigers. While they will also bank on the likes of Nabi and Aftab Alam to tighten the screws in the middle overs.
Expected Playing XI : Asghar Afghan (C), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat and Rahmat Shah.
Bangladesh have now won six and lost three out of the nine ODI's they have played this year. In the opening game of Asia Cup 2018 against Sri Lanka, they managed to post a good total of 261 on the board despite losing a couple of early wickets. Their bowlers then followed that up with a spectacular performance as they bowled the Lankans out for just 124 in the 36th over.
Batting: Tamim Iqbal has been ruled out of the tournament and in his absence, Bangladesh batting will rely mainly on Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun. to deliver the goods with the bat. Mushfiqur and Mithun rescued their team from an early jolt against Sri Lanka with valuable contributions of 144 and 63 respectively. Both these batsmen should grow in confidence after that performance and they will be expected to bring that form into this match. While they will also bank on the likes of Mahmudullah, Shakib and Liton Das to score some runs in the middle.
Bowling: Shakib Al Hasan did a good job with the ball against the Islanders, conceding just 31 runs off his 9.2 overs and Tigers will need him to bowl well again. While Mustafizur Rahman and skipper Mashrafe Mortaza snared two wickets each and the onus will be on them to rock Afghanistan's top order early on.
Expected Playing XI: Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Mominul Haque, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain and Mehidy Hasan.