Bangladesh have had a rather topsy-turvy run in the ongoing tri-nation series. Shakib Al Hasan and Co beat Zimbabwe the other night by 39 runs at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram to qualify for the final. The victory also meant that Afghanistan also made their way through to the final. Prior to that game, the Afghans and Tigers will lock horns in the league stage.
Even as it’s a chance for them to test out some of their benched players, the sides will also be aware of not losing the momentum going into Tuesday’s match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Last time around, Rashid Khan’s men defeated Bangladesh by 25 runs and won their 11th T20 match in succession. They are placed at the top of the table and seem to be going from strength to strength.
Pitch and Conditions
The track in Chattogram has been a decent one for the batting side. The pitch hasn’t thrown much demons to be petrified off. The lower order batters have also been able to score runs, which suggested the true nature of the strip. There are no chances of rain during match-time. The temperature will be around 29 degrees Celsius with a significant amount of dew to play its part.
Aminul Islam Biplob has injured his left-hand and has gotten three stitches. Though, it’s not his bowling hand, it seems unlikely that he’ll take the field on Saturday. In that case, Taijul Islam is likely to find himself back, being a specialist spin-bowling option. Mustafizur Rahman has looked a tad rusty and he can be rested for one match. Rubel Hossain can be played in place of Mustafizur.
Shakib Al Hasan has been poor with the bat, though he has found his rhythm with the ball in hand. Mushfiqur Rahim hasn’t been at his best either. Mahmudullah has done a great job in the middle and his role remains to be the key. Afif Hossain and Mosaddek Hossain add depth to the batting. In the bowling department, pacers Mohammad Saifuddin and Shafiul Islam have done a decent job.
Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan (C), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman/Rubel Hossain, Taijul Islam
The Afghanistan batting has been led by Mohammad Nabi, the leading run-scorer of the series. He got an unbeaten 84 the last time these two sides met in the T20 format. Najibullah Zadran got a half-century versus Zimbabwe and he’s in good shape as well. Hazratullah Zazai hasn’t fired yet and he needs to find his form before the final. Rahmanullah Gurbaz has been impressive in his debut series.
The onus will also be on the likes of Asghar Afghan and Najeeb Tarakai in the middle-order. Rashid has been excellent, both in leading the team and bowling wrist-spin. Gulbadin Naib hasn’t quite delivered yet, but has the potential to wield magic on his day. Left-arm pacer Fareed Malik has been amongst the wickets. The Afghans may give chances to few of their bowlers, who are yet to play.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Najeeb Tarakai, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat/Dawlat Zadran, Rashid Khan (C), Fareed Malik, Mujeeb Ur Rahman/Sharafuddin Ashraf
Probable Top Performers
Liton Das– Bangladesh| Mohammad Nabi – Afghanistan
TV – Star Sports Select 2
Match Timings – 18:00 IST and 18:30 local
The prediction is for Afghanistan to win the match.
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