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Afghanistan look to make most of familiar conditions


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"I am not keen to talk about any particular bowler but undoubtedly they are a quality bowling attack and one of the best spin bowling attacks around."

That was Bangladesh skipper Tamim Iqbal answering a question related to Afghanistan's famed spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman that has combined to take 355 wickets in the 50-over format and now itching to bowl on the slow-turning wickets of Bangladesh.

Finding a method to counter Afghanistan's spin trio wouldn't just be the only focus for Tamim and co. The home side has played a slew of T20Is, alongside the occasional Test match since clean-sweeping Zimbabwe in July last year. So they have to adjust once more to the tempo of the 50-over format. Incidentally, the hosts have included four uncapped players (in ODIs), including Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Ebadot Hossain. Until now Ebadot has been considered as a Test match specialist. But his impressive showing in the Test series in New Zealand, where he pounded the deck hard, alongside bowling at a decent burst of pace, could have played a part in his selection for the 50-over format.

The experienced hands - Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim as well as Liton Das - will be the mainstays of the batting unit. On the other hand, the exciting left-arm pace bowler Shoriful Islam, alongside Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman, form a useful pace attack. Meanwhile, Afghanistan's campaign was rocked after several players and members of the support staff tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the series. However, all members of the set-up tested negative on Wednesday (February 17), paving the way for the tour to go ahead.

The visitors are trying to bring in a few new faces with the likes of Darwish Rasooli, Azmatullah Omarzai, Afsar Zazai, Qais Ahmad and Nijat Masood getting opportunities. Top order batter Ibrahim Zadran has also been picked. Afghanistan Cricket Board have also named Stuart Law as the interim coach. Afghanistan, who recently beat Netherlands 3-0 in ODIs, will look to add crucial World Cup Super League points.

When: Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 11 AM Local Time

Where:Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chattogram

What to expect: The weather forecast looks promising with no real threat of rain. The wicket could be on the slower side.

Team News:

Bangladesh: The hosts would have to decide about slotting in one out of Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Yasir Ali in the middle order. Incidentally, Hasan Joy batted in the top order in the Test series versus New Zealand. Shakib is set to bat at number 3.

Likely XI: Liton Das, Tamim Iqbal (c), Shakib Al Hasan, Yasir Ali/Hasan Joy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam

Afghanistan:The visitors could slot in the returning Ibrahim Zadran in the top order.

Likely XI: Ibrahim Zadran/Riaz Hassan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Fazalhaq Farooqi/Fareed Ahmed/Yamin Ahmadzai

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