Bangladesh will face Afghanistan in their second 2023 Asia Cup match, which is a do-or-die situation. The match will take place at Gaddafi Stadium on September 3 at 3:30 PM (Bangladesh time).
Bangladesh’s hopes of going to the Super Four of the Asia Cup faded after losing against Sri Lanka in the first match. Although on paper, Bangladesh still have a chance to go to the next round, the match against Afghanistan is highly important, and Bangladesh needs a big win.
Asia Cup 2023: BAN vs AFG Match Preview
Bangladesh’s Performance against Sri Lanka in the ongoing Asia Cup
Before the match even started against Sri Lanka on August 31, Bangladesh were worried about their opening pair. Their worry turned out to be true because Tanzid Tamim and Naim Sheikh didn’t do well at the beginning of the game. After the bad start, Bangladesh couldn’t make things better. The only player who did well was Najmul Hossain Shanto. He scored 89 runs in the game, and that’s how Bangladesh managed to get more than 150 runs.
However, the bowlers have struggled enough with this low score. After the speed and swing of Taskin Ahmed with the new ball, the Lankan batsmen had to give a tough test to the Shakib-Mehdi spin in the middle overs. However, Bangladesh’s 164 runs were not enough to hold them back in 50 overs.
Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and decided to bat in Pallekele on August 31 (Thursday). Bangladesh could not score more than 164 runs after losing all wickets in 42 overs. In response, Sri Lanka attained victory by losing 5 wickets in 39 overs. At this rate, the equation of survival in the tournament has become very difficult for Bangladesh. Now, to get a place in the Super Four, Bangladesh will have to match the difficult equation.
Significance of the BAN vs AFG Match in the 2023 Asia Cup
There is no alternative to victory against Afghanistan in the do or die battle at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on September 3. A win will keep the hopes of the Super Four alive while looking forward to the second and final match between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. But if Bangladesh loses against the Afghans, the Tigers’ farewell will be confirmed.
Can Afghanistan Win the Match Against Bangladesh?
Afghanistan will begin their Asia Cup by playing against Bangladesh. In the past, Afghanistan’s cricket team did really well in the Asian Cup and played in the Super Four in the last two ODI editions in 2014 and 2018. But they couldn’t make it to the finals.
Before starting the Asia Cup 2023, the Afghans went to Sri Lanka to play against their closest neighbour, Pakistan, in a three-match ODI series that took place from August 22, 2023, to August 26, 2023. Sadly, they lost all three games in a row. But, before that, the Afghans won against Bangladesh by 2-1 in a three-match ODI series in Bangladesh that happened from July 5, 2023, to July 11, 2023. Hence, Afghanistan will be confident against the Tigers.
Two important bowlers, Naveen-ul-Haq and Fareed Ahmed Malik, won’t be playing; the Afghan bowling team will depend a lot on 22-year-old Fazalhaq Farooqi. They will be looking to him to do well. Further, the Afghan team will also look forward to Karim Janat. He’s been asked to play for the national team again, and he’s excited to be back in ODI cricket after not playing it for six years.
Another player, Rahmat Shah, might also get to play in the Afghan team. He was not in the team for the last two games against Pakistan, but he might be in the lineup this time.
Bangladesh’s Probable XIs
Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Naim, Anamul Haque, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman.
Afghanistan’s Probable XIs
Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah, Shahidullah Kamal, Karim Janat, Abdul Rahman, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Bangladesh vs Afghanistan Head-to-Head Record
Afghanistan got their ICC Associate member status in 2013 and debuted in the Asia Cup the very next year. Afghanistan’s team, led by Mohammad Nabi, won their first match in Asia Cup 2014 against Bangladesh. Although the Afghans won the first Asia Cup match against the Tigers in 2014, Bangladesh currently leads the overall ICC ODI head-to-head record by 8-6.
These two cricket teams, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, have played against each other three times in the Asia Cup ODI version. They played one match in the 2014 Asia Cup and 2 matches in the 2018 Asia Cup. In the previous ODI edition of the Asia Cup in 2018, Afghanistan won against Bangladesh by a big margin of 136 runs in the group stage of the tournament. But in the same tournament, Bangladesh came back strong and beat Afghanistan in the Super Four.
Bangladeshi Players to Watch
Najmul Hossain Shanto
Even though Bangladesh lost their first game in the tournament, Najmul Hossain Shanto did really well with his batting. He came to bat as the third player in his team and scored 89 runs from 122 balls. That means he played a big part in helping his team reach a total of 164 runs. He started batting very early in the game, in the second over, and didn’t get out until he helped his team get a good score.
Shakib Al Hasan
Although Shakib could not do well with the bat in the first match against Sri Lanka, he tried his best with the ball and took 2 wickets at a 2.9 econ rate. Shakib has good records with Afghanistan, taking 27 wickets from 13 matches with 5/29 best bowling score. Shakib scored 367 runs in those 13 matches. So, he can play a significant role with the ball and bat against the Afghans.
Afghan Players to Watch
Gurbaz, who is only 21 years old, has become the best and most dependable player in the Afghanistan batting lineup. He has been doing really well in ODIs. In the last series against Pakistan, he scored the most runs for the team, getting 178 runs in three innings with an average of 58 runs per game. Now, it’s up to him, as one of the best players from his team, to face the strong bowling side from Bangladesh and help Afghanistan start their innings well.
Left-arm fast-medium Fazalhaq Farooqi can be a great asset for Afghanistan. We have seen his performance in the recently ended series in August 2023 against Pakistan. He took 5 wickets in three matches. Farooqi also has a good record against Bangladesh and took 14 wickets from 6 appearances with a 4/54 best-blowing record. So, he might put pressure on Bangladeshi top orders.
The upcoming Asia Cup match between Bangladesh and Afghanistan is expected to be acutely competitive. Both teams play in a similar style and are equally strong. But Afghanistan have an advantage because they won a series against Bangladesh in July 2023. Afghanistan will surely focus on Bangladesh’s main weakness, which is their weak batting lineup, to win this game. So, Afghanistan have a great chance to win the match and send Bangladesh out of the Asia Cup.
Read more: Predictions: Who will win Asia Cup 2023?