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|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||28||2||7.00|
Bangladesh just managed to stay in the tournament as they rode on all-round team effort to hand Zimbabwe yet another loss in the tournament. The remaining fixtures in the competition are now of little significance as Bangladesh and Afghanistan have both secured their places in the playoffs, knocking out Zimbabwe in the process. Just two matches remain in the tournament, the first of which will be played on 20th September at Chattogram. Afghanistan, who are currently at the top of the table, are set to take on Zimbabwe in this dead-rubber.
Coming into the tournament after a disappointing tour of Ireland, the fans were hoping for a better performance from Zimbabwe, but that was not to be. Barring a win in the warm-up match, Zimbabwe have failed to deliver in this tri-series. While they've fought pretty well, the ability to handle crucial situations have cost them the game.
Their previous match was yet another instance of fumbling under pressure. Zimbabwe had a pretty good start to the game as their bowlers dismissed the likes of Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das, and Shakib Al Hasan in quick succession, but their bowlers failed to seize the opportunity as Bangladesh managed to score a decent total of 175.
The match was still pretty much in control, but in quest of scoring too many runs too quickly in the powerplay, Zimbabwe lost six wickets inside the first ten overs, and they were only fighting a lost battle thereafter. In the tournament up until now, Zimbabwean top-order has failed miserably. The likes of Brendan Taylor, Sean Wiliams, and Hamilton Masakadza have been unable to deliver, and the absence of Craig Ervine hasn't helped either. Ryan Burl has done brilliantly so far and has perhaps been their only player who has performed with acceptable consistency.
BRM Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams, R Chakabva, CT Mutombodzi, Ryan Burl, Richmond Mutumbami, Neville Madziva, Kyle Jarvis, Ainsley Ndlovu, C Mpofu.
While the tournament is played in the grounds of Bangladesh, Afghanistan have looked to be more of the home team in these conditions. They have enjoyed playing in conditions conducive to spin bowling and are currently unbeaten in the tournament.
Afghanistan have played two matches in the tournament so far - one against Zimbabwe and the other against Bangladesh and they've managed to register a convincing win in both of them. Against Bangladesh, they found themselves in a bit of trouble after being four down for 40, but remarkable batting by their lower middle-order bailed them out.
While their batting has done decently, it's been the bowling that has been match-winner for them. The availability of four world-class spinners at their disposal has kept their opponents at bay in both the matches. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan, and Mohammad Nabi have all been instrumental in their victories, and if they continue to deliver in the same manner in the upcoming matches as well, Afghanistan may well go on to lift their first title in T20Is involving test-playing nations.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Shafiqullah, Asghar Afghan, N Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, F Niazai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran.
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While this upcoming match is not going to have any impact on the finalists of this tri-series, it is still of vital significance for both the sides. With T20 World Cup coming up next year, both the teams would like to get their combinations right, and this match might provide them both with that opportunity. Zimbabwe have struggled to live up to the expectations in both departments of the game, whereas Afghanistan have been brilliant. Comparing the two teams on the basis of performances in the tournament so far and on-paper balance, Afghanistan are certainly ahead, and are, therefore, out pick to emerge on top in this upcoming fixture on Friday.
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