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Afghanistan aim for strong comeback


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Mehidy Hasan and Afif Hossain may have pulled off a heist in the first one-dayer to help Bangladesh win in a contest where Afghanistan seemed to have had a strong control on, but there isn't a lot for the visitors to be disappointed about, who have lost only their second match of the ICC Super League.

Fazalhaq Faarooqi's spell upfront, where he ripped through Bangladesh's top order with four wickets was the biggest of all their positives from the contest. But as disappointing for them would be the fact that they let go off a strong advantage after having the hosts on the mat at 45 for 6 in the tricky 216-run chase. Afghanistan's spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi were restrictive with conceding runs but couldn't do enough to unsettle the seventh wicket pair. As Afif conceded later, the plan of not losing too many wickets to the Afghan spin trio did the trick for them.

The bigger of Afghanistan's issues remain in the batting department, especially while facing the pacers. Bangladesh's pace trio - Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam - combined to bag seven wickets, as most of the batters struggled to get going after settling in. Najibullah Zadran was the lone exception with a cautious 84-ball 67.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, have issues to address despite having won the match from a tricky position. Most worrying of those, in their preparation for the next year's 50-over World Cup, would be the form of veteran batter Mushfiqur Rahim. On Wednesday, he was trapped legbefore for a five-ball three, and would desperately look to shrug off his run of poor scores - if possible as early as on Friday at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.

When: Friday, February 25, 2022 11 AM Local Time (10:30 AM IST)

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

What to expect: A sunny and sultry day is expected. Run making will continue to be difficult on the slow pitch.

Team News:

Bangladesh: Even as Bangladesh continue to remain in hunt for their number five, Russell Domingo has stressed that Afif Hossain won't be tried out at that position. Bangladesh are likely to stick to the same XI.

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

Afghanistan: Even as there are several concerns to be addressed, Afghanistan might be tempted to stick to the same combination that nearly won them the contest in the first one-dayer.

Likely XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Gulbadin Naib, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Yamin Ahmadzai, Fazalhaq Farooqi

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