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|Shakib Al Hasan||4.0||0||16||1||4.00|
|Shakib Al Hasan||10||9||0||1||111.11|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||25||1||6.25|
Afghanistan has wrapped up the series with another commanding victory over Bangladesh and will now have their eyes firmly on a 3-0 scoreline. There is something to be said about the manner in which Afghanistan has approached this series. Not for one moment has it looked like the underdog, never for one moment did they act like they were happy to just be here. They came to win and did so as a matter of fact. This result is also a huge wakeup call for Bangladesh. All the gains that they seemed to have made in this format a few months ago have amounted to nothing. Being whitewashed by Afghanistan is not going to sit with their supporters and some players may well be playing for their careers in this game.
A couple of the Afghan players had commented how Dehra Dun reminded them a bit of Afghanistan thanks to the rolling hills in the vicinity. Perhaps the amount of support they have got from the locals would have also added to the feeling of home that Afghanistan has experienced. The team has certainly given its supporters plenty to cheer about as it thrashed Bangladesh with utmost ease.
We were skeptical about the manner in which Afghanistan would respond after winning its first game because it has sometimes tended to fall off the radar when playing as the favorite. All those fears were unfounded as Afghanistan once again played a near-perfect game.
Bowling first, Afghanistan never let Bangladesh get off the hook. The architects of their victory were the three spinners again. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi, and Rashid Khan are three world-class acts in one side. They utilized the helpful conditions perfectly and kept Bangladesh on a tight leash. Shapoor Zadran and Karim Janat went for some runs but they also made the batsmen take risks for their runs.
The tight hold on the Bangladeshi batsmen meant that they could not just play out Rashid Khan and wait for the other spinners. Coming in to bowl in the 16th over, Rashid Khan took the wickets of Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, and Mossadek Hossain in one over.
That effectively limited the total that Afghanistan would have to chase. Still, 134 on this track was not going to be easy to chase. Afghanistan started well thanks to its openers again and showed great maturity in absorbing the pressure that the Bangladeshi batsmen applied.
Their batsmen showcased a natural big-hitting ability, a much-improved awareness of game situations, and the experience to take the game deep. The fact that Afghanistan batsmen did not panic and start playing rash shots even when things started to get close showed how much faith they have in their ability.
Batsmen like Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, and Shafiqullah are all in excellent form. They are not at all worried about what the Bangladeshi bowlers are going to throw at them.
This complete confidence in their ability to win has helped Afghanistan in this series. The only worry would be now of complacency in the last game now that the series has been wrapped up.
M Shahzad, Usman Ghani, MA Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Nabi, Shafiqullah, N Zadran, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam.
It is difficult to imagine what the Bangladesh team would be going through right now. They came into this series with nothing much to gain but plenty to lose. After all, a victory in this series would have been regarded as routine while a loss would have been regarded as failure. A 3-0 loss, though, would be something that no one would have imagined before the series started and now it looms as a very real possibility.
Make no mistake. A 3-0 loss to Afghanistan in Asian conditions will be something that will shake Bangladesh cricket and force them to take some tough measures.
As we have repeated again and again, Bangladesh has been outplayed in every single department. None of their world class players have shown up in this series. The batsmen have failed to neutralize the threat of the Afghan spinners and made some poor choices under pressure.
The Bangladeshi bowling is never something to write home about but spin-friendly conditions are something they thrive in. Even here the bowlers have let them down by bowling too many loose deliveries and failing to pick up wickets to peg back the Afghanistan batting.
Very little changed from the first game to the second and very little will change from the second to the third conditions wise. Bangladesh will once again be faced with the task of playing Afghanistan on a slow track that offers plenty to the spinners and puts a premium on the ability to clear the boundaries.
We have seen often in the past that Bangladesh plays its best cricket when it plays fearlessly. The batsmen must try to throw the bowlers off their length by rotating the strike consistently. There were 15 dot balls in Mujee Ur Rahman’s spell of four overs alone in the last game and that is just not acceptable.
Bangladesh has assembled a very decent group of batsmen for this series. Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabeer Rahman, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, and Mossadek Hossain are the best that Bangladesh can muster up at the moment.
One of these highly talented individuals must step up and take the responsibility of saving their team from ignominy in this series.
We don’t rate Mushfiqur Rahim very highly as a batsman and even though he has shown some signs of improving as a T20 batsman. 4 scores of over 30 in 70 plus matches is a very poor return. He could be one of the players fighting for his place.
Rubel Hossain is also another bowler that has disappointed with his ability to deliver under pressure. We would be very surprised if he makes the eleven in the last game. The spinners kept Bangladesh in the last game and they are the ones that can win the game for their team in this last match.
Bangladesh has to stop fearing defeat and start going for the win otherwise Afghanistan will roll them over once again.
Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Abu Hider, Nazmul Islam, Abu Jayed.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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A dry but humid day has been forecast for match day. The pitch has been slow and difficult to score off in both games so far and that is what we are expecting for the final game as well. If anything, the surface could get slower as the game progresses.
134 was testing but eventually failed to be enough for the second game. 140 could well be a winning total in the last match.
Afghanistan is leading 2-0 in this series and has appeared to be the better-prepared team. It is difficult to see the Bangladeshi batsmen find a way out of the web that the Afghan spinners have been spinning in the matches so far.
We think the home team will sweep this series 3-0.
Back Afghanistan to win.
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