Bangladesh will face Afghanistan at Southampton as Tigers need a win to keep their semifinal hopes alive.
“Hum to dube hai sanam; tujhe bhi leke dubenge”
If you are thinking this is a catchy dialogue from a hindi movie character, duh-uh, you’re wrong. Gulbadin Naib, the Afghan captain, said this in the pre-match press conference of their clash against Bangladesh.
Quite clearly, Afghanistan don’t fear Bangladesh. They have beaten Bangladesh in three matches, two of them at the den of the Tigers, at Mirpur. They whitewashed Bangladesh in a three-match T20I series at Dehradun. But the question is, are they favorites in this match? The whole world would say, no. All of their three wins in ODIs were tagged as accidents here and there, and they suffered a heavy defeat against Bangladesh in the previous World Cup at Canberra.
Even though, Afghanistan have nothing to lose. They have lost all of their six matches in this World Cup till date, and that probably explains why their captain uttered that catchphrase. The quote translates, “We’re going down dear; but we’ll take you down with us.” They are already eliminated from the World Cup, but Bangladesh aren’t. Bangladesh need to win at least two of their remaining three games to have a shot at the semis. But a defeat to Afghanistan will be a heavy blow for the Tigers as their remaining matches are against India and Pakistan.
Sri Lanka’s win against England have opened a way for the Tigers to qualify for the semis, but they need to win their games, and at first, against Afghanistan. Bangladesh have showed prowess in their batting, but their bowling has looked toothless. They would have to pick up their bowling and fielding performances against a side who have troubled hot favorites India. Mehidy Hasan got struck by a Sabbir Rahman shot, but he is fit and ready to go. Saifuddin and Mosaddek are also fit and likely to make their way to their side as the Tigers will go for the kill.
Afghanistan on the other hand have nothing to lose. They gave India a tough fight in their last match at the same venue, and they’ll look to cause an upset here. Their spin battery is their strength, as they will look to make the Bangladeshi batsmen uncomfortable with their accuracy. Their batting is a concern as they could not chase down 224 in the last match, but will look to give a better performance on Monday.
Mehidy Hasan is fit after he was hit by a Sabbir Rahman shot during practise, while Mosaddek and Saifuddin both are good to go and are likely to replace Rubel Hossain and Sabbir Rahman in the team.
Probable Lineup - 1. Tamim Iqbal, 2. Soumya Sarkar, 3. Shakib al Hasan, 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5. Liton Das, 6. Mahmudullah Riyad, 7. Mosaddek Hossain, 8. Mehidy Hasan, 9. Saifuddin, 10. Mashrafe Mortaza ©, 11. Mustafizur Rahman
Afghanistan is unlikely to change their lineup which gave India a tough fight.
Probable Lineup - 1. Hazratullah Zazai, 2. Gulbadin Naib ©, 3. Rahmat Shah, 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi, 5. Asghar Afghan, 6. Mohammad Nabi, 7. Najibullah Zadran, 8. Ikram Alikhil (wk), 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Aftab Alam, 11. Mujeeb ur Rahman
Pitch and Conditions
Southampton has been a ground where spinners are favored, as the slowness of the pitch plays a big part. Batting first and getting runs on the board would be the ideal strategy here as batting becomes tough with time here.
There is a heavy chance of rain in the early morning, but there are little chances of rain during the match.