In a battle of supremacy between two Asian nations, the future of 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final lies. Bangladesh and Afghanistan meet in match #31 of the tournament on Monday in Southampton. The result promises to have a lasting impact on the top-four race.
Bangladesh have five points from six points and have an outside chance if they keep winning. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England will also be closely watching this encounter. Afghanistan are already eliminated, but would love to pick up their first win of the tournament.
Mashrafe Mortaza’s men have been oscillating with their form. They have lost to New Zealand, England and Australia but have defeated West Indies and South Africa. Bangladesh need to win their next three matches and pray for other results to go their way.
The form of Shakib Al Hasan with the bat has been majestic. Senior pros Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal have shown glimpses of returning to form in the previous game. Bowling remains a worry, though, as the lack of cutting edge is prominent. However, a spinning track in Southampton should suit their spinners.
Afghanistan are bottom of the points tally after losing six on the trot. However, they had their chances against Sri Lanka and India, before blowing their chances. The loss to India was agonising, considering they dominated it for most parts.
They have defeated Bangladesh in three of the seven H2H encounters. In the two recent games in the Asia Cup, Afghanistan defeated Bangladesh by136 runs before losing the next one by a mere three runs.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Shakib Al Hasan has 425 runs in the tournament, to go with five wickets. His all-round skills will be crucial for Bangladesh and for your fantasy side.
Rashid Khan came back strongly against India, remaining tight with his lines. The conditions will suit his style and might be a good pick for your side.
Mushfiqur Rahim hasn’t shown his usual consistency in this World Cup. However, the century against Australia could just be the tonic he needs to keep scoring.
Bangladesh are likely to welcome back Mosaddek Hossain. Mehidy Hasan’s availability remains a doubt after being hit on the head in the nets.
Bangladesh: 1 Tamim Iqbal 2 Soumya Sarkar 3 Shakib Al Hasan 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (WK) 5 Liton Das 6 Mahmudullah 7 Sabbir Rahman 8 Mosaddek Hossain 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (C) 10 Mohammad Saifuddin 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Afghanistan are likely to retain the side that stretched India.
Afghanistan: 1 Hazratullah Zazai 2 Gulbadin Naib (C) 3 Rahmat Shah 4 Hasmatullah Shahidi 5 Asghar Afghan 6 Mohammad Nabi 7 Najibullah Zadran 8 Rashid Khan 9 Ikram Ali Khil (WK) 10 Aftab Alam 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
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