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|Shakib Al Hasan||4.0||0||37||0||9.25|
|Shakib Al Hasan||3||7||0||0||42.86|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||15||0||3.75|
Afghanistan’s 1st home game at Dehradun could not have gone any better as they thrashed the Bangladesh team by 45 runs. That is a huge margin of victory in T20 cricket and will surely leave the Bangladeshi’s seething. The visitors have the opportunity to hit back in this next T20 as they try to keep the series alive. Afghanistan, on the other hand, will not want to let up at all and take this opportunity to record a T20 series victory over a much more senior full member nation.
One thing is sure that we can expect a lot more aggression from both sides in this upcoming encounter.
‘Emotion’ is often used to describe the inconsistency that Afghanistan sides have become famous for and to brush aside some truly remarkable brain fades. In the first T20, though, Afghanistan played with their emotions firmly in check and put in an absolutely clinical performance.
The manner in which Afghanistan played should actually scare Bangladesh because they got every aspect of their game correct. The openers provided a solid platform, they lost wickets in the middle order but the lower order provided the power to boost them to a winning total and then the bowlers just took over.
The entire team had a clear idea about the roles to be performed and they never once looked in trouble.
Can Afghanistan repeat this performance in this game to win the series?
There are a few areas that have still not been addressed by Afghanistan. The first would be the fielding. No one notices the fielding when everything is going well but even in this victory, there were plenty of instances where Afghanistan could have saved a couple of runs or stolen an extra one while batting.
These small margins can come back to hurt them.
Also, we are not convinced about their batting lineup and think they could be vulnerable while chasing a decent total.
Setting a target is much easier for a weak batting lineup because there is no scoreboard pressure. If Afghanistan was to find itself chasing in the next match then its batting lineup will be tested for sure.
The positives for Afghanistan are there for everyone to see. Their trio of spinners is very effective and will make life difficult for the Bangladeshi batsmen no matter what the match situation is. Rashid Khan started with two wickets off his first two deliveries and pretty much broke the back of the Bangladeshi chase.
Mujeeb and Nabi were the bowlers to have done the early damage.
Afghanistan has the far superior bowling attack in this contest and that will give them an edge in every single match. The only thing that could hold them back could be their inexperience of playing as favorites and their inconsistent batting lineup.
M Shahzad, Usman Ghani, MA Stanikzai, N Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah, Rashid Khan, Karim Janat, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, S Zadran.
Reaching the finals of the Nidahas trophy and beating Sri Lanka convincingly twice in that tournament had raised hopes of a Bangladeshi rise in the T20 format. The evidence of the first match suggests that there is plenty of work that is needed to be done.
We think that Bangladesh lost the last match when it allowed Afghanistan to plunder close to 70 runs in the last five overs. That is almost 50% of the total score and was clearly above par for the surface. Bangladesh cannot let Afghanistan out-bat them in this contest because the Bangladeshis certainly do not have the bowling to out-bowl the Afghans.
It also appeared as if Bangladesh had not done its homework before the series. The lines that their bowlers bowled were poor and allowed Afghanistan to score runs in their favored areas. The Bangladeshi batsmen also had no clue as to the best way to tackle the spinners.
Can all this be changed in a matter of a few days? Probably not but the performance of one match should not be taken too seriously either.
Bangladesh will be desperate to have Tamim Iqbal contribute in the next game and lead from the front. Tamim and Shakib are the two most experienced batsmen in this lineup. The pair is also very good at T20 cricket and it was encouraging to see them both bat in the top-3.
We believe that Tamim and Shakib have the temperament to be able to strike back in this match and come hard at the Afghanistan bowlers. The fact that Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman got out first ball is also something that hurt Bangladesh badly in their chase.
Liton Dad showed good form and is a good choice for opener. We would have personally preferred to see Sabbir up at the top but Liton Das is an excellent candidate as well.
With players like Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, and Mossadek Hossain in the side as well, the Bangladesh side is a good batting side and one bad performance does not change that.
What about the Bangladeshi bowling, though?
We found it strange that Mehidy Hasan was not picked on a surface which was offering plenty to the spinners. Even someone like Mahmudullah took two wickets of one over without giving a run and was never bowled again.
Abul Hasan and Abu Jayed went for plenty of runs making it necessary for Shakib to turn to some of his part-timers. Mehidy Hasan is the best off-spinner in the Bangladesh squad and a case for his inclusion can be very strongly made.
Rubel Hossain is also a senior bowler now and must take responsibility of bowling at the death. He is always a little inconsistent but seemed particularly off-color in his second spell in the last match.
Bangladesh needs to step up its bowling effort markedly if it is to stay alive in this series.
Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Abu Hider.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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The pitch was low, slow, and two-paced in the first game. It got slower as the game progressed and we think that a similar surface will be offered to players for this game as well. The weather is expected to be dry with a very small chance of showers predicted for the match right now.
Spinners are going to dominate proceedings and the best time to score runs seems to be with the new ball.
We thought that the bookmakers had underestimated Afghanistan coming into the first match and that represented an excellent betting opportunity. The same now seems to be the case with Bangladesh. One loss has made them the bookmakers underdogs to a large degree. Remember that this is the same team that beat Sri Lanka convincingly and ran India very close as well.
We would recommend banking on a Bangladeshi comeback in this match.
Back Bangladesh to win.