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Super League points at stake as Bangladesh to face off Afghanistan

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DHAKA: The three-match One Day International series between Bangladesh and Afghanistan beginning in Chattogram is expected to be an even-sided contest with both teams playing for the coveted ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League points. While the hosts sit strong on the second spot with 80 points, Afghanistan is sixth with 60 points. 

Bangladesh will be playing their first ODI in 2022 as their last stint came against Zimbabwe in July 2021, a series they won 3-0.

The likes of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmud Ullah, and Mushfiqur Rahim will be expected to play significant roles in the batting department whereas the bowling department will mostly be handled by Shakib, Mustafizur Rahman, and Taskin Ahmed. The hosts have also included four uncapped players (Ebadot Hossain, Nasum Ahmed, Yasir Ali, and Mahmudul Hasan Joy) in the squad and it will be interesting to see how they balance experience with an opportunity to challenge Afghanistan.

The visiting players and some staff members had tested positive for Covid, putting the entire series in threat. However, after being kept in isolation, all of the players tested negative, allowing the series to be scheduled on time.

Afghanistan has always been a team that has stood up because of their team effort, and this has helped the team in making significant progress in international cricket. Their recent 3-0 win in ODIs against Netherland is also proof of the fact that they cannot be underestimated, especially in a place like Bangladesh which has spin favourable conditions. Bangladesh batters would undoubtedly be challenged by the presence of the spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the squad.

The last time both teams faced off in an ODI match was at the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

Shakib claimed five wickets after scoring a gritty half-century in the first innings, while Bangladesh’s wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim had scored a brilliant 83 off 87 to set up a total of 262/7 in 50 overs.

Afghanistan had started well in chase but Shakib’s match-winning performance helped Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 62 runs.

Tamim Iqbal said, “Certainly we are playing [ODIs] after a while, but everyone is excited because this is one of our favourite formats. We have to do well here because we have got a couple of ODIs this year that was not there because of the T20 World Cup. We have done well against them in ODIs and to get back into the rhythm is the main thing and everyone is playing and having good mental space.” 

Hashmatullah Shahidi said, “To be honest, we think about the whole team. We plan for everyone. We know their strong and weak points. We are working on it. I care about our strengths, our boys, my team. We have a good team here. I have confidence in all our departments.”

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