It will be a battle to stay alive in the Asia Cup 2018 when Afghanistan and Bangladesh take on each other in the fourth match of the Super Four at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
While Bangladesh received a seven-wicket thumping at the hands of defending champions India, Afghanistan fought hard but were unable to cross the line as they slumped to a narrow three-wicket defeat against Pakistan.
Both the teams were in Group B and although almost everyone was off the view that Bangladesh will top the points table after Sri Lanka’s exit, Afghanistan amazed everyone after defeating Bangladesh.
While Bangladesh’s batting has miserably failed in the last two matches, Afghanistan has showed great maturity in their batting zone. The team has always touched the 250-runs mark, and turned the match in their favour with good bowling.
Ever since Bangladesh registered an emphatic win over Sri Lanka in the tournament opener, things have not gone quite the way Mashrafe Mortaza would have liked. The batsmen have struggled to get going in the last two encounters as they managed to score only totals of 119 and 173 against Afghanistan and India respectively, a reason for their downfall.
On the other hand, Afghanistan have done extremely well to post totals close to 250.The top-three – Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat and Rahmat Shah – have made decent contributions, while hitters like Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan have given them a late surge. However, it is their bowling, especially the pace attack which has somewhat been a let down for them in the ongoing tournament.
The last time the two teams met in the group stage, Bangladesh had no answers to the spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi and were bowled out for just 119, conceding a 136-run win. So, Bangladesh would be eager to come out with a better performance and avenge that defeat.
Afghanistan: Asghar Afghan (capt), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah Janat, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Najibullah Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Samiullah Shenwari, Munir Ahmad, Sayed Shirzad, Sharafuddin Ashraf.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Ariful Haque, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Hider Rony, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes.