regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

ICC Men's World Cup 2023: Internal conflicts haunt Bangladesh as they face Afghanistan in their first match

'We will field first, generally it is a ground where the team chases well. Some help for the seamers first up and we would like to capitalise on that,' Shakib Al Hasan said

PTI Dharamsala Published 07.10.23, 09:02 AM

TT Online

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field in their World Cup match against Afghanistan here on Saturday.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan said the ground is suited for chasing.


“We will field first, generally it is a ground where the team chases well. Some help for the seamers first up and we would like to capitalise on that.

“I am happy that I am representing my country for the fifth time in the World Cup. We have to focus on our skills and not think too much. We have the team to do well,” said Shakib.

Bangladesh have lost their previous five ODIs, while Afghanistan lost the last two matches.

Their build-up marred by infighting, Bangladesh will have their task cut out when they cross swords with Afghanistan in their World Cup opener here on Saturday, both teams seeking to enjoy that one breakout campaign after years of top-flight experience.

Bangladesh have always been a competitive side in the white ball formats but for a team that has just witnessed a face-off between two of its biggest players - skipper Shakib al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal -- it will need to do more than just being competitive.

After Tamim's exclusion from the World Cup team, a war of words broke out between the two stars, the feud playing out in the open barely days before the start of the showpiece.

Following Tamim's omission from the 15-member list, the selectors cited opener's back injury for the decision, but while speaking to a sports channel, Shakib revealed that Tamim refused to bat at No. 3 in their first World Cup match against Afghanistan.

The star all-rounder even went on to call Tamim "childish" and said he isn't a team-man, leaving the seasoned opener furious.

Injuries to some of their players are also not helping the team that has had an inconsistent year so far in ODIs, losing nine matches while winning eight with three no results.

Bangladesh, however, have no dearth of experience and talent in their squad with the likes of Shakib, pacer Mustafizur Rahman, wicketkeeper batters Mushfiqur Rahim and Litton Das and all-rounder Mahmudullah possessing enough skills and ability to change the complexion of the match in high-pressure situations.

Then there are also younger players like Najmul Shanto, their highest scorer this year with 698 runs, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam and Towhid Hridoy who bring some vibrancy and balance into the squad, so important in a tournament of this magnitude.

Their real strength, however, is their spin bowling unit made up of Shakib, Mehidy Miraz, Mahedi Hasan and Nasum Ahmed who have the skills to catch their opponents napping on helpful surfaces, which they might find in India.

Their fast-bowling unit led by veteran Mustafizur has some dangerous customers in Taskin, Shoriful and Hasan Mahmud, who can work up some good pace.

But, with Tamim out of equation, Bangladesh would do well to find the second opener at the earliest, someone who can be a perfect foil for Litton Das.

As far as Afghanistan are concerned, they have progressed as a cricketing nation since getting ICC full membership in 2017.

What they need now is a breakout performance in a global event to underline that growth, though their World Cup record is a far cry form that, having managed only one victory from 15 games, which came against Scotland.

Afghanistan would do well to take inspiration from their 2019 World Cup outings against India and Pakistan when they came close to shocking the two heavyweights before failing to close out the match.

Afghanistan, led by Hashmatullah Shahidi, boast of a formidable spin department in the form of veteran Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Noor Ahmad.

The Afghans will also rely on former captain Nabi, a veteran of 147 ODIs, to display his all-round skills while the 22-year-old Mujeeb is expected to take the responsibility with the new ball.

Afghanistan have a good batting line-up but they will need to be consistent, something they have not been in the past.

Teams :

Bangladesh: Litton Das, Tanzid Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Mushfiqur Rahim†, Towhid Hridoy, Mahmudullah, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman.

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz†, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi.

Match starts at 10.30am.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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