CHATTOGRAM: After the first match win, the Bangladesh team is eying to wrap up the three-matches series against Afghanistan with a game to spare when they face off the visitors in the second ODI at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium tomorrow (Friday).
The Tigers recovered from a precarious 45-6 to win the first game by four wickets, thanks to a valiant batting of Afif Hossain and Mehidy Hasan Miraz. The duo put on a record 174-run in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand to help the side win the game when everyone including captain Tamim Iqbal wrote off the chance of a victory.
Afif blasted an unbeaten 93 and Miraz hit 81 not out, both of them hit their highest individual knock in the ODI cricket to give Bangladesh a victory to remember.
This kind of victory is always morale-boosting and gives the fuel to go on hard in other matches, according to Tamim Iqbal.
History suggests when Bangladesh makes a winning start, they remain on the front foot to win the series. If this history is anything to go by, Bangladesh is expected to wrap up the series with a match to go.
But Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo believes there is room for improvement as the Tigers’ top order misfired in the first game and also they were not as clinical as they should be in the bowling.
“We have to play better cricket tomorrow than we did yesterday,” Domingo said here today. “We bowled 13 wides yesterday. We dropped a catch. We were 45-6. We need a massive improvement in yesterday’s performance in every department. We had one fantastic partnership (that led us to win).”
If Bangladesh can win tomorrow’s match, they will topple England to move to the top of the ICC ODI Super League point table. England currently has 95 points in 15 games while Bangladesh so far achieved 90 points in 13 matches. India is in the third spot with 79 points from 12 matches.
The series victory also would help Bangladesh to improve their ICC rankings. They are currently in the seventh position, just behind Pakistan. A whitewash on Afghanistan would see them leapfrog Pakistan.
This was Afghanistan’s first defeat in the Super League, having won the six straight matches—all came against Ireland and Netherlands.
Afghans would be disappointed with the way they lost the game from the winning position.
But the visiting captain Hashmatullah Shahidi wants to erase the memory of the first game when they take on Bangladesh in the second ODI, which will be a ‘do or die match for them.
“We were 30-runs short but the way Fazal started was great but credit to them for fighting back. This was just the start but there are two more games to go and we will look to come back,” Shahidi said.
Of the nine matches between the two teams so far in ODI cricket, Bangladesh now has the upper hand with six wins, and Afghans won three. The win-loss ratio proves how good Bangladesh is in ODI cricket, as Tamim Iqbal said earlier. Afghanistan however has the edge in T20 cricket as they won four and lost two in six matches against Bangladesh.
After this landmark victory in the first game, Bangladesh is unlikely to bring up any changes for the second game while there is a chance that Afghanistan may tinker with their squad.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal (Captain), Liton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyad, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Ebadot Hossain, Nasum Ahmed, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Mahmudul Hasan Joy
Afghanistan: Hasmatullah Shahidi (captain), Rahmat Shah (vice-captain), Azmatullah Omarzai, Fareed Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Gulbadin Naib, Ibrahim Zadran, Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rashid Khan, Riaz Hassan, Shahidullah, Yamin Ahmadzai