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Bangladesh expect tough Afghanistan challenge

  • Samsul Arefin Khan from Chattogram
  • 5th July, 2023 10:00:45 AM
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Bangladesh expect a similar fighting spirit from Afghanistan like what they showcased in the previous ODI series against the Tigers when they take on the touring side in the three-match series opener at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram today.

The match is scheduled to start at 02:00pm (BST) and will be telecast live on T Sports and GTV.

Bangladesh will be hosting Afghanistan in a bilateral ODI series for the third time and during the previous two series, the touring side tested the Tigers’ nerves to a great extent.

In 2016, Afghanistan toured Bangladesh for the first time in a full-fledged ODI series and they conceded a narrow 1-2 series defeat in the three-match series in Mirpur.

During Afghanistan’s last tour here in Bangladesh in 2022, the visitors nearly pulled off a shocking win over the hosts in the series opener but Afif Hossain and Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s record-breaking seventh wicket stand prevailed Bangladesh from the losing threat.

Bangladesh went on to win the series by the same 2-1 margin but Afghanistan’s never-say-die attitude was surely one of the talking points of that series.

“This ODI series will be as competitive as the last two against them. They are a good side, especially in white-ball cricket. They probably have one of the best bowling attacks in the world,” Bangladesh skipper Tamim Iqbal told reporters during a pre-match press conference in Chattogram on Tuesday.

“I don’t expect anything less than the last series. We have to fight really hard. We can’t expect to walk in and win the game,” Tamim said, adding that the series will be important for both teams as they will also face each other during their opening match of the upcoming ICC World Cup in Dharamshala, India on October 7.

“It is a good thing that we are playing against them at least four times (one is also in the Asia Cup) before the World Cup. They will also understand our strengths and weaknesses. I think it’s a good thing for both the teams,” he added. Meanwhile, Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi said that they will be looking to leave behind their recent Test debacle against Bangladesh and start afresh in the 50-over series against the same opposition.

Afghanistan suffered a massive 546-run defeat to Bangladesh in the one-off Test series in Mirpur last month which was the third-biggest defeat by runs in Test cricket history.

“We didn’t play Test cricket for two and a half years. In that game, our main players were injured like Rashid Khan, who wasn’t available while Fazalhaq Farooqi wasn’t available as well. Azmat (Azmatullah Omarzai) wasn’t available as he got injured in his groin,” said Shahidi.

“So that was a missing part. We have been playing ODIs for a long time. We are playing very well, especially in the last two years. We built a team. Now we are working on it and improving match by match. So we have a better team in ODIs,” he concluded.