Bangladesh put aside a stat that wouldn’t have made them very happy about when they beat Afghanistan by four wickets when the teams clashed two days ago. They hadn’t beaten Afghanistan in their last four games in T20Is and looked like they were headed down a similar path when they were reduced to 12/2 in a modest chase. However, a Shakib Al Hasan masterclass helped them arrest the slide, forcing Afghanistan to their second successive loss in the series, who at the start looked favourites to make the final unbeaten.
A flurry of wickets in the back-half of the game in their games against Zimbabwe, first, and then Bangladesh, derailed their efforts of setting a large total. That, after their top order had given them starts in both games with opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz being at the top of the run charts in the series. Both teams eventually chased it down with relative ease, as Afghanistan were dented in confidence.
To make matters worse, skipper and their vital cog Rashid Khan picking up a hamstring injury in that last game has set them back further. Rashid, the No.1-ranked T20I bowler, hobbled off, but returned a while later to take the ball and strike immediately. It seemed like he aggravated the injury in a fielding attempting soon after, thus casting a cloud of doubt over his availability for the final. Bangladesh will be without their all-rounder, Aminul Islam, who made his debut earlier in the series after sustaining a finger injury in his first game in national colours after picking up two wickets in his maiden outing. However, they have enough personnel to fill in. Yet, despite it all, much depends on Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmadullah, who have been among the runs this series.
Head coach Russell Domingo blatantly stated that they haven’t found their perfect game yet, so far. The final will be when he will want his wards to step up. For Afghanistan, having their players leading the run-scoring and wicket-taking charts will give them some confidence. But slipping to two losses in a row will be on their mind, nevertheless.
Bangladesh needed to bounce back from the embarrassing Test defeat to Afghanistan. After being trounced handsomely in the one-off game, they needed to make amends in the tri-series. And they did so by setting up a date with Afghanistan in the final. Having beaten them already in the dress-rehearsal, in the last league-stage game, they would hope to do so one more time. After all, it’s about pride. For Bangladesh, it’ll be about ascertaining their dominance at home. While Afghanistan would want to leave those shores victorious.
What: Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, Final
When: Tuesday, September 24, 2019😎
Where: Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Afghanistan Squad: Rahmanullah Gurbaz(w), Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan(c), Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Najeeb Tarakai, Fazal Niazai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Shahidullah Kamal, Fareed Malik, Dawlat Zadran
Bangladesh Squad: Liton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan(c), Mushfiqur Rahim(w), Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Aminul Islam, Mohammad Naim, Taijul Islam, Rubel Hossain
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