Eliminated Afghanistan have long been targeting this fixture against Bangladesh as an opportunity for an upset win at this World Cup (WC), as their desperation for some pride and joy continues to intensify.
Afghanistan’s winless campaign has condemned them to their worst-ever losing streak of six consecutive ODIs – the result of a fairly lackluster WC preparation which has seen them win just four of their last 12 ODIs outside of Asia, and nine of their last 17 ODIs against opposition not from the original eight Test nations.
Their spin quartet utilized against India made great use of a slow and difficult Rose Bowl surface, conceding just 3.5 runs per over in their 34 overs combined on Saturday. They return to Southampton for this clash against Bangladesh – a national team also not short of intelligent spin bowlers.
The ‘Tigers’ have been winning plenty of admirers throughout the tournament, but a commendable and spirited loss to Australia has placed them firmly in ‘must-win’ territory, with this fixture the first of three cut-throat matches to come.
A struggling Afghan batting lineup will no doubt be welcomed by a Bangladeshi bowling outfit who have conceded four scores of 300+ already at this tournament, with the defensive mindset of the seamers being particularly troublesome – not to mention the injury to leading wicket-taker Mohammad Saifuddin.
The two sides have met only once in the 50-over format outside of Asia, with Bangladesh winning comfortably in a 2015 WC contest in Canberra. Tigers captain Mashrafe Mortaza would be rapt to repeat his three-wicket haul from that afternoon, not least because he has enjoyed just one sole wicket from his last seven ODIs (average 317.00, ER 6.22rpo).
AFG vs BAN – Players to watch out for
Gulbadin Naib (AFG) has collected wickets in four of his six 2019 WC matches, while also passing 20 with the bat in four of six.
Shakib Al Hasan (BAN) has been dominant with the bat right throughout 2019, compiling 565 runs (avg 113.00, SR 96.58) in his eight ODI innings this year. He is also the only Bangladeshi to have collected multiple four-wicket hauls against Afghanistan, in 2016 and 2018.
Five of the last eight completed ODIs at The Rose Bowl have been won by the team batting first.
The average P1 (overs 1-10) score at The Rose Bowl in this WC is just 41.50 runs.
The average first innings score at The Rose Bowl since the 2015 WC is 280 (298 for winning totals).
Afghanistan have collected just four wickets inside P1 in this WC. Rashid Khan has not taken a single wicket inside his first spell in this WC.