Finally a winning formula appears to have been worked out. Zimbabwe showed the way and Bangladesh followed. Afghanistan Cricket team in OBHAI T20 tri nation series was looking like invincible in the first leg of the tournament winning the matches comfortably. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh never won against Afghanistan in the past in T20 international. Afghanistan stormed into the final of the tournament making the matches of the second leg matches mere formalities. The match between Zimbabwe and Afghanistan at Chattogram was the farewell match of the long serving Zimbabwean Hamilton Masakadza. Leading from the front he championed a brilliant win against vastly superior Afghan team. His team after 8 consecutive defeats won its first T20 against Afghanistan. On the other hand high flying Afghans lost its winning momentum. In the very next match Bangladesh super star Shakib with aggressive batting and tight bowling turned the table upon the favorites. Taking a leaf from Zimbabwe Bangladesh worked out and implemented successfully a winning formula against all conquering Afghanistan. The final today at SBNCS has now become any body’s game.
Losing the one off test against Afghanistan, struggling for a narrow win against Zimbabwe and losing the first leg match against Afghanistan Bangladesh think tank appeared to be groping in the dark. They changed and chopped the squad three times for five matches. Finally in Chattogram the team got back into proper shape. The two matches were won back to back in their own special mode. It seems that Bangladesh could finally discover chinks in the arm of Afghanistan.
Bangladesh needs its openers firing. So far Liton had average performance, Soumya has been dropped, Nazmul Shanto looks out of place. Desperate BCB wanted to bring back star opener Tamim Iqbal who has just resumed practicing after long lay off. Justifiably he regretted. Bangladesh can either let teenager Sheikh Naeem debut or try with Mosaddek. The first will be better bet as Mosaddek is proving a better finisher. Bangladesh can afford gambling as Shakib, Mahmudullah and Mushfiq has started scoring. If the openers can put together a decent partnership strong middle and late order can produce a challenging score to defend. Bangladesh appears to have found some answer dealing with Nabi and Mujeeb. Rashid Khan’s mystery still remains to be decoded. It is however not sure that Rashid would be match fit today . Afghan pacers are not anything to worry about for Bangladesh. Much would however depend whether SBNCS would have usual spin friendly surface or not. Bangladesh can easily go for sporting wicket with a little bit for the pacers. Mustafiz, Saifuddin and Shafiul are better than Afghan pacers . Afghanistan batting has looked a bit vulnerable to quality pace already. In such situation leaving some grass on the wicket would favor Bangladesh.
We hope win against Afghanistan at long last and winning three of the four matches so far in this T20 series must have given boost to the sagging morale of Bangladesh. Tigers must have found a winning formula. Going with three pacers and two genuine spinners would be the key. Taijul can be brought back replacing Sabbir and Sheikh Naeem can be given debut.
Afghans on the other hand appears to have lost its winning momentum at end of a long tour. They looked hesitant over the last two matches. Body language was not that positive. Getting back to winning momentum from a sudden slump would require character. We are sure whether Afghans can demonstrate that.
It appears likely that Bangladesh would win. It will not be a huge event. But nevertheless a win would a win. But nothing should be taken for guaranteed.
BDST: 0956 HRS, SEP 24, 2019