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Afghans to hope for Indian win before clash against Bangladesh

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KINGSTOWN, June 24: Afghanistan will watch the India-Australia clash with bated breath, hoping that the ‘Men in Blue’ stand on the winning side — a result which will hand them a golden opportunity to qualify for the T20 World Cup semifinals when they take on Bangladesh in their Super Eights match.

Afghanistan augmented their chances of making their first-ever World Cup semifinal when they down the mighty Australian on Saturday.

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As things stand, India lead the group followed by Australia and Afghanistan — both on 2 points each — and Bangladesh are last.

Rohit Sharma and his men are favourites to qualify for the final-four with a net run rate of 2.425 while Australia (0.223) have superior NRR compared to Afghanistan (-0.650).

Rashid Khan and Co. will hope India do them a favour by beating Australia so that they enter the clash knowing exactly what they require to do for making the semifinals.

But if Australia win, it will be an uphill task for Afghanistan to overtake the former champions on NRR. Having said that, Afghanistan will be super high on confidence having exacted revenge from Australia for their ODI World Cup loss last year in Mumbai.

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Irrespective of the India-Australia result, the Afghans would fancy their chances against a down-and-out Bangladesh, who seemed happy just to progress to the Super Eights.

That Afghanistan have the skills and mindset to excel in the format is not up for debate. They have proved that they are no longer a side reliant on just their bowling unit to eke out victories.

Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz, the leading run-getter, and Ibrahim Zadran have set the tournament ablaze with their sensational hitting.

Additionally, the Afghans  are enjoying the conditions that the Caribbean pitches are offering. Having a plethora of quality all-rounders has only helped their cause.

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They will take on Bangladesh at the same venue where they defeated Australia and the spin friendly conditions will aide them.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, have already given up. Although they do have a minuscule chance of progressing to the semifinals, back-to-back defeats against Australia and India have deflated their confidence.

“To be honest, I don’t think we have a chance to play the semi-final anymore after this loss (against India),” senior all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan said on Saturday.

Bangladesh have struggled with their batting throughout the tournament. The lack of power-hitters has also hurt them. The underwhelming performance of opener Litton Das and Tanzid Khan has also compounded their woes.

However, Towid Hridoy and leg spinner Rishad Hossain have impressed with their performance.The game against Afghanistan is an opportunity for them to end their campiagn on a high.

“But having said that, the next game will be an opportunity for us to get a win on our belt before we finish up this tournament,” Shakib said

“We’d love to finish this tournament on a high. We have to face Afghanistan which is a very good side. So, we have to be at our best to be able to win against them,” he added.


Afghanistan: Rashid Khan (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Nangyal Kharoti,Hazratullah Zazai , Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik.

Bangladesh: Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto (c), Shakib Al Hasan, Towhid Hridoy, Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan, Rishad Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Mustafizur Rahman, Jaker Ali, Tanvir Islam, Shoriful Islam, Soumya Sarkar.

Match starts 6:00 am (PTI)





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