ICC CWC 2023 : Match 3: Afghanistan v Bangladesh: Preview & Pitch report
The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 kicked off at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday with defending champions England taking on New Zealand in the opening match of the showpiece event. The caravan will now move to the mesmerizing HPCA stadium in Dharamshala for the third match where Bangladesh will take on Afghanistan. In this article, we will look at some key aspects of the game from pitch report to weather conditions along with the players to watch out for in the battle of the Asian giants.
The Bangladesh team is like a wounded tiger at the moment as they have won just one out of their last three home series which was something they took pride in as the team had a formidable record at home since the 2015 ODI World Cup having lost just one series till 2022 on home soil. Bangladesh has played three ODI series at home this year against England, Afghanistan, and Ireland and has won only one series that too against Ireland. One of the most disappointing losses that the team faced was in the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan which they were expected to win
The disappointing loss to Afghanistan was followed by a below-par Asia Cup campaign where the Bangla Tiger managed to win only a solitary match as a result the team was knocked out in the Super Four stage of the tournament. The concerning aspect of the Bangladesh team has been their batting department which hasn’t been fired in the last few series It is one of the reasons for the team’s underwhelming performance leading into the World Cup.
Player to watch out for
Najmul Hossain Shanto
The Bangladeshi top-order batter has had a magnificent year so far which started with a memorable Bangladesh Premier League. He has been the mainstay of Bangladesh's batting which has otherwise been a sorry show. Shanto who is also the vice-captain of the team will look to continue his run-scoring form during the World Cup as well in the absence of senior batter and former captain Tamim Iqbal who has been left out of the squad due to fitness issues. So far he has an experience of 30 games in which he has scored 908 runs with an average of above 31.
Taskin Ahmed is the bowler for Bangladesh to bank on in the ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2023. He has been their top wicket-taker over the last year with 23 wickets from 11 innings and has maintained a bowling average of 19. One of his biggest strengths is the pace at which he bowls. Taskin is the kind of bowler who can cross the 140 KPH mark on a regular basis.
One of the most experienced batters of Bangladesh along with captain Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim has been a consistent performer for Bangladesh over the years. He is the batter who controls the entire batting lineup with his calm approach while batting in the middle order. There have been numerous occasions where the experienced wicketkeeper batter has stabilized the Bangladesh innings when the team has lost early wickets. Mushfiqur Rahim has made 632 runs from 18 innings in 2023. He has a batting average of 39 over the last year.
Like Bangladesh, their opponent Afghanistan hasn’t had a successful run in ODI cricket this year. They started the year with a series win against Bangladesh which might have given the team a lot of confidence. The series win was followed by a loss against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The impact of back-to-back series loss was evident in the team's performance in the opening match of the Asia Cup against Bangladesh where the Afghan bowlers looked clueless as they conceded more than 300 runs and lost the match while chasing a stiff target and were knocked out after suffering a heartbreaking loss in the hands of Sri Lanka
Player to watch out for
The Afghan opener has been the best batter for his team over the last year with 756 runs from 14 innings at an average of 58. He along with Rahmanullah Gurbaz has formed a solid opening pair for the Afghan team. One of his biggest strengths is his solid technique which allows him to control the innings while Gurbaz attacks from the other end
Ibrahim’s opening partner has also made 502 runs from 14 innings. He has a batting average of 35 over the last year. He is one of the more attacking batters in the Afghan lineup and compliments his partner Zadran quite well. His biggest strength is his attacking approach where he has the ability to play his shots right from the word go and put the bowlers under pressure
Farooqi is expected to be the best bowler for Afghanistan in the ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2023. He has been their top wicket-taker over the last year with 19 wickets from 14 innings and has maintained a bowling average of 31. With Dharamshala being a high altitude ground there are very bright chances of him getting assistance in the morning
The pitch of the HPCA stadium in Dharamshala is considered a bowling-friendly pitch with the average score in ODI matches being 214. Interestingly the surface played batter during IPL 2023 and there was a significant increase in the average first innings total but those were 20 over day night matches. It will be interesting to see how the pitch plays during tomorrow’s fixture as it is a day game.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Kumer Das, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.
Afghanistan: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Naveen ul Haq.
Cover Credits: ICCofficial.com