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A War of Pride between Tigers and Afghans

A War of Pride between Tigers and Afghans

Published Date: 22 Sep 2016 | Update : 22 Sep 2016
A year of success in 2015 followed by no international cricket in the next 11 months has been a period of out-and-out frustration for the tigers and their supporters. In 2015, tigers reached the quarter final of the 50-0ver World Cup and managed to win ODI series against the might of South Africa, India and Pakistan at home. The effect is enormous of not playing for so long, falling down in the rankings as individually and as well as the team have been a real frustration for the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Co. Bangladesh is currently ranked 7 th in the ICC ODI Championship. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has managed to organise a bilateral series against the Afghanistan later this month, a well above team who are at number 10 currently. A well-established Bangladesh ODI side is ready to face new emerging force of cricketing arena Afghanistan in three day-night ODI’s , the first ever bilateral series between the two nation. Many would say a dress rehearsal before the epic England series for the tigers but a pathway for the Afghans to show that they belong to this type of clashes and would love to make a name. The series is scheduled to start from the September 25. All three matches are to be held in Dhaka mainly due to security concerns all over the country. These two teams have met twice so far in ODI, both manages a win. Afghans defeated Tigers by 32 runs in the 2014 Asia Cup at Fatullah. Although tigers managed to take the sweet revenge by taking down Afghans in the 2015 World Cup in Australia, thanks to the pair of Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan. A partnership of 114 runs between these guns played a crucial role in Bangladesh’s comprehensive 105-run win in Canberra in the group stages. Asghar Stanikzai has the highest individual score (90) and Mashrafe Mortaza has the honour of best figures (9-2- 20-3) when these two teams met in previous two occasions. There has been some ins and outs for the tigers in their young squad. Mustafizur “The Fizz” Rahman is a massive loss and he is sidelined due to injury, as well as Arafat Sunny and Taskin Ahmed who is yet to be cleared by ICC to play. A big inclusion is Mosaddek Hossain , who is supposed to make his debut during the series. Legendary right arm fast bowler Courtney Walsh is also named as the bowling coach and inclusion of heavy run-getter Thilan Samaraweera as the batting consultant is a big step forward for the tigers. Shafiul Islam is also recalled for this series after a long delay while Mashrafe Mortaza retained the position of Captaining the team. On the other hand, Afghanistan has landed a future in little leggie named Rashid Khan and inclusion of Rahmat Shah in the squad has strengthened their batting department. Afghans are coming from a recent tour of Ireland and Scotland where they stamped their authority by putting splendid performances and managed to drew the series 2-2 against the Irish and 1-0 series win against the Scotish, before that they have beaten Zimbabwe in Sharjah 3-2. On the other hand, an absence of 11 months of international cricket is a concern for any team in any form of cricket to get together and to perform together. Therefore, a lot of statistical analysis and sheer hard-work would be required for the tigers to knock down Afghans. Bangladesh Cricket Team would be hopeful of putting a remarkable performance for their loyal supporters and to keep their flags high and flying. Players to watch out for- Shakib Al Hasan: Coming from a bad previous year by his usual standards, Shakib is predicted to be back in this series with his all rounding abilities. Sabbir Rahman: A raw talent of hitting the ball out of the park, who has already made a name for him but yet to be consistent enough in the international arena. Taskin Ahmed: Coming from testing his bowling action and under the guidance of newly recruited bowling coach Courney Walsh, he is supposed to blossom. Ahmed Shahzad: He is brutal and charismatic and can thrash most of the bowling attacks, but consistent big runs is a concern for him. Rashid Khan: A young leg spinner who is capable of turning in spinning tracks and bamboozled batsmen. A great potential to be one of the finest of Afghan history. Mohammad Nabi: A consistent player for the Afghans with both bat and bowl, and is predicted to be a big star in this series.

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