Bangladesh played well against Afghanistan, but there are still areas to improve
Afghanistan’s World Cup debut created plenty of buzz. It has been a great achievement for the war-torn nation. They have conquered adversity to reach this far and their massive presence in Canberra made Bangladesh look like the underdogs. Such a scenario is never chummy for the ardent Bangladesh cricket fan.
Afghanistan’s meteoritic rise in World cricket and their stunning victory against Bangladesh last year at Mirpur during the Asia Cup let many cricket pundits think that the Afghan warriors are all set to hunt the Tigers again and start their World Cup campaign with a bang. But it was not to be. Mashrafe Mortaza and his men might have traveled through the troubled waters for a brief period, but they didn’t let another Mirpur-tragedy to repeat in Canberra.
Bangladesh sapped away all the apprehensions to notch up a clinical win against the newcomers in emphatic fashion. When a team starts the World Cup campaign in such a stupendous fashion, quite a few points do go unnoticed. Bangladesh did have a brilliant day on the field, but there were some points to ponder.
Bangladesh need to find the ideal XI
It was staggering to see that a competent middle-order batsman like Mominul Haque was sent to bat at number eight and play the role of a pinch-hitter. Such a move was pretty useless. Mominul is a middle-order batsman and he must bat high up the order.
But, Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah Riyad have established themselves at number three and four positions, respectively and with players like Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim coming to bat at number five and six, it becomes tough to find a place for Mominul.
To include Mominul in the team, Bangladesh might have to sacrifice either Anamul Haque or Soumya Sarkar, which is pretty tough at present.
At number seven or eight someone like Nasir Hossain must be played. Nasir’s presence will certainly give Bangladesh the X-factor and one cannot forget his abilities to dish out instrumental knocks under pressure. The team does become dynamic enough with players like Sabbir Rahman and Nasir Hossain coming in at number seven and eight.
Mashrafe needs to be a bit more attacking as a captain
The Afghanistan batting line up was jolted by the Bangladeshi seamers. Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain dismissed three Afghan batsmen for three runs and any captain would love to go for an all out attack. But Mashrafe Mortaza went defensive and allowed the Afghan batsmen to settle down.
When the new ball was posing enough threat, Mashrafe should have placed a third and fourth slip, but he was seen operating with one or at the most, two slip fielders. Again, Mashrafe should have put a fielder at gully position to make things tighter for Afghanistan batsmen in the first ten to fifteen overs. Sadly, Mashrafe was found reluctant to attack.
Such minor things don’t create a headache against inexperienced teams like Afghanistan, but against better teams, they are bound to pose a big threat.