With two comprehensive victories under their belt, a buoyant Afghanistan would be looking to stamp their authority with a clean sweep against Bangladesh in the two sides’ first-ever bilateral series with a win in the third and final T20I game on Thursday (June 7), in Dehradun.
Bangladesh have been let down by their batting on both the occasions, after opting to chase in the series opener as well as when they tried to put runs on the board in game two. Their last shot at salvaging some pride will depend on how their batsmen fair against the Afghanistan spinners Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi. The trio have picked 12 of the 18 wickets that fell in the previous two games to render the experience in Bangladesh’s batting line-up futile. Rashid alone has accounted for seven of those, adding to his ever-rising stature as the best limited-overs wrist spinner in the circuit. The lack of runs from two of their most experienced stars – Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim – have hurt the tourists the most.
Having said that, the absence of pace spearhead Mustafizur Rahman has left an obvious hole in their bowling attack. Bangladesh tried Abul Hasan and Abu Jayed in the series opener, only to see the pair leak 40 and 34 respectively from their three overs each before facing the axe in the next game. Experienced Rubel Hossain, too, ended up giving too many runs at the death in both the matches.
Afghanistan’s troubles though are limited to their fast bowling department only, and have been covered up well by their spinners and an in-form batting. Even as Karim Janat had a good first game, Shapoor Zadran has proved expensive in both the outings thus far. Afghanistan’s batting, that looked concerning at the start of the series, have held their own, with small contributions pouring in from all corners.
Another all-round performance will not only help Afghanistan gulp down another Test-playing country, albeit in the shortest format, but will also serve as a perfect prelude ahead of their Test debut against India next week.
When: 3rd T20I on June 7 at 8pm IST (2:30 GMT)
Where: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun
What to expect: A spin-friendly pitch and a pleasantly warm evening with temperatures in the late 20s.
Afghanistan: The hosts would likely stick with the winning combination in their bid to complete a whitewash.
Bangladesh: Mehidy Hasan, who hasn’t featured for Bangladesh so far, could get a game though it’s the batting that needs fixing. All-rounder Ariful Haque could get a look in. Abu Hider Rony will likely retain his spot in the eleven after a good all-round show in game two.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (c), Mohammad Shahzad, Najeeb Tarakai, Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Darwish Rasooli, Karim Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Shapoor Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hazratullah Zazai
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Nazmul Islam, Abu Hider Rony, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed, Abul Hasan
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