Consecutive defeats to the Sri Lankans have handed both Afghanistan and Bangladesh a spot in the super four, something that not many people would have saw coming in this year’s Asia Cup. It must be said that Sri Lanka were utterly-deplorable in both games, they only managed to score a combined-282 runs collectively in this year’s Asia Cup resulting in an early exit.
Could Afghanistan be the team to come out on top against all odds in group B? It’s looking extremely likely after they eliminated Sri Lanka from this year’s tournament, although so did Bangladesh by a greater margin which makes this upcoming match a highly fascinating one. So what makes this match so interesting you ask? Well, the fact that both Afghanistan and Bangladesh both triumphed substantially with the bat and produced brilliant bowling displays respectively, it’s hard to lean towards either side in this matchup making it a good old fashion shootout. Afghanistan will be hoping their destructive opener Mohammad Shahzad can step up to the occasion given his uncanny-ability to produce big scores out of thin air. The 30-year-old’s form wasn’t great against Ireland in the recent T20 & ODI series, but if you’ve followed Shahzad’s career he doesn’t need form to come out and dominate a game of cricket. This team has plenty of scoring outlets such as Rahmat Shah who top scored with 72 in their last match, 20-year-old Ihsanullah who’s looked promising and the hard-hitting Najibullah Zadran to finish things off strongly down the order. The man on everyone’s radar though has to be superstar leg-spinner & young gun Rashid Khan. People must get sick of hearing this, but at 19-years of age he’s just about dominated every T20 tournament in the world as well as ODI and T20 cricket on the International stage. Khan is one of the major reasons for Afghanistan’s resurgence in International cricket, he’s claimed 110 wickets in just 48 ODI’s…the teenager is an absolute freak! Alongside the star leggy, Afghanistan has a good spread of options with the ball including all-rounders Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib who finished with two wickets each against Sri Lanka as did Rashid Khan. They have some huge trump cards at their disposal, if they use them wisely they could potentially head into the super four stage undefeated.
With Afghanistan finishing off the Sri Lankans in this year’s Asia Cup, Bangladesh will now be made to fight for top spot on the standings in what is sure to be an entertaining match at Abu Dhabi. The Tigers received a huge injury blow in their last match against Sri Lanka after star opening batsman Tamim Iqbal fractured his wrist, ruling him out for the remainder of the Asia Cup. Mominul Haque who’s last ODI was back in early 2015 will most likely be replace Iqbal in the playing XI. Two other Bangladesh players are nursing injuries which isn’t a huge confidence booster heading into the super four stage, Mushfiqur Rahim has a rib issue and Shakib Al Hasan is still suffering from a finger injury. A rib injury wasn’t enough to keep Mushfiqur down though, the Tigers wicketkeeper-batsman produced an epic performance with the willow finishing with 144 runs off 150 deliveries in a match-winning knock. Second-choice wicketkeeper Mohammad Mithun also chipped in with 63 runs as Bangladesh posted a more than competitive total. Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Liton Das were all dismissed cheaply which made that fighting century from Mushfiqur all that more important. This time around, expect one of Shakib Al Hasan or Mahmudullah to go big on the scoreboard, both are dynamic run scorers after they’ve found that first boundary in their innings. One thing Afghanistan will have to look out for is the dangerous Mustafizur Rahman, he’s arguably their best strike bowler who can get the ball to swing both ways at high speed. The 23-year-old’s already claimed three five-wicket hauls in his short ODI career which spells trouble. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza can always be relied upon to give 110% each and every time he brings himself on, he’s taken 9 wickets in his past four ODI’s which is always pleasing. That finger injury to Shakib might mean that Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s right-arm offbreaks might be more frequently required, they also have Mosaddek Hossain up their sleeve as a part-timer.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Afghanistan | Asia Cup | 6th match | Abu Dhabi
- Rashid Khan
- Rahmat Shah
- Mohammad Nabi
- Mohammad Shahzad
Wildcard pick – Najibullah Zadran
Top 5 fantasy picks | Bangladesh | Asia Cup | 6th match | Abu Dhabi
- Mustafizur Rahman
- Mashrafe Mortaza
- Mushfiqur Rahim
- Mohammad Mithun
Wildcard pick – Rubel Hossain
Afghanistan (possible) – 1. Mohammad Shahzad (wk) 2. Ihsanullah 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Asghar Afghan © 5. Hashmatullah Shahidi/Samiullah Shenwari 6. Mohammad Nabi 7. Najibullah Zadran 8. Gulbadin Naib 9. Rashid Khan 10. Aftab Alam 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Bangladesh (possible) – 1. Mohammad Mithun 2. Liton Das 3. Shakib Al Hasan 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk) 5. Mominul Haque 6. Mahmudullah 7. Mosaddek Hossain 8. Mehidy Hasan Miraz 9. Mashrafe Mortaza © 10. Rubel Hossain 11. Mustafizur Rahman.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.