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23 September, 2018 12:35:50 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 September, 2018 08:49:46 PM
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Soumya, Kayes likely to play today

Mashrafe unfazed by Afghans superb form
Sports Reporter
Soumya, Kayes likely to play today

Despite losing two matches by big margin in a row, Bangladesh refused to give up the hopes of playing the final of Asia Cup as they take on Afghanistan today at the Sheikh Abu Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The second match of Bangladesh in the Super Four, crucial to keep them alive in the tournament, starts at 5.30pm BST. Confusion played a big in Bangladesh’s debacle, according to skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, as it stemmed from the fact that his side had to play two consecutive matches in less than 16 hours in two cities of UAE in an unbearable heat. While they tasted a humiliating 136-run defeat to Afghanistan, India eased past them by seven wickets, giving Bangladesh a reality check about their batting as the team management hurriedly called up Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes to reinforce the batting line up. Confusion was created once again when Mashrafe said he was unaware of the call up of those two batsmen. But given another confusion would cost their hope of playing final, Mashrafe tried to remain positive. Soumya and Kayes were scheduled to leave for Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening.

“We are still in the race of the final,” he said after their seven-wicket defeat to India. “There is opportunity to make a turnaround. We have a rest day ahead of the match against Afghanistan. So there is time to fix the things right way.”

While Mashrafe remained confused, after the Super Four Fixture was revised, Afghanistan were clear in their mind. They even didn’t criticize the schedule, rather concentrated on their game which paid the rich dividends. They also played two matches in consecutive day and while they beat Bangladesh without working so hard, they gave Pakistan a massive scare before going down to three wickets in the last over of the match.

Afghanistan haven’t have prominent batsmen in their line up but most of their batsmen clicked in every match to give their world class spinners, led by super talented Rashid Khan a chance to wreck havoc in opponents’ batting line up. Most of the Bangladeshi players played more matches than Afghanistan players and as per ICC rankings they are well ahead than the Afghans but still Rashid Khan and company is rated favourites in this match. Mashrafe appeared to have unfazed by Afghan’s superb form. “I think (playing) final is still possible. There is nothing to be disappointed. Obviously losing two matches in a row is disappointing but if we can beat Afghanistan, we’ll have 50-50 chance to the final and then if we can beat Pakistan, our chances will be brightened.”

It’s a ‘Do or Die’ match for war-torn Afghanistan also, given their slender margin defeat to Pakistan. Knowing that Afghanistan will come all guns blazing, Mashrafe said they need to put up strong batting performances which cost them the last two matches. “The match against India was very crucial for us but we tasted a batting debacle again. Tamim’s injury-forced absence was too much for us so others should take the responsibility. Other players should play around Shakib, Mushfiqur, Mahmudullah. I think if we can keep the things right, we are able to beat Afghanistan.”


IK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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