Tigers determined to dominate ODI series

After winning the one-off Test by a record 546-run margin, Bangladesh vowed to dominate the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan, who are bolstered by the return of star spinner Rashid Khan.

The series opening game will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium with Bangladesh looking to take the early lead. The match starts at 2 PM. All of the matches of the ODI series will be taken place at the same venue.

Afghanistan was a force in the ICC ODI Super League, winning 11 out of 15 matches but their ODI record against Bangladesh was not dominating one. The Tiger won the seven and lost four matches in 11 encounters between the two teams.

The two teams met last year in Bangladesh with the hosts taking the series by 2-1, despite facing a stern challenge from the Afghans. Bangladesh in fact have been such a dominating force in ODI format at own backyard that they only lost two series at home since 2015 and all of those two defeats came against World Champions England who beat them in 2016 and this year.

Even though this series is not the part of ICC ODI Super League, for Bangladesh it will be hugely significant. A 3-0 victory over the Afghans, which is an extremely tough task, would help Bangladesh move to fifth place in ICC ODI rankings for the first time in their history. Also their rating points will go past 100 for the first time in case of a clean sweep.

While it is important to get a ranking boost, it similarly crucial for the team management to rotate players as much as they can to find out their best combination for the upcoming World Cup.

Bangladesh will get Asia Cup and a three-match ODI series against New Zealand apart from this Afghanistan series before the cricket’s biggest extravaganza.

“We are trying to give some players game time. That doesn’t mean they know and we know the supporting role, what we want to do, what areas we need to look forward to the players,” Hathurusingha said in Chattogram.

 “That means sometimes we won’t have depth in case of an emergency close to the Asia Cup and World Cup. So keep the reason in mind we want to give players a chance.”

Bangladesh however has been monitoring captain Tamim Iqbal’s progress closely after he complained of waist pain, a problem that ruled him out of the one-off Test. Hathurusingha said they have opener and captain ready in case Tamim is unable to take the field. Tamim was seen doing his training in the last two days.

Afghanistan meanwhile are elated to have Rashid Khan in the team. Their skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi expressed his delight at the star man’s presence, saying that he can make the difference single-handely.

 “Of course, he (Rashid) is a big man for us. When he is with us, as a captain, I feel very confident,” Shahidi said.

“It’s a positive sign for us. He didn’t play the Test for us but now he is available in the ODI series. And I know he will do good for us,” he said adding that they have learnt their lesson in the Test series.

“The Test game gave us a lot of lessons. So we are well prepared now. We had a camp in Abu Dhabi for the last 14 days. So we are prepared for everything that was missing in the Test. Still, some of the ODI players were not part of the Test team. We don’t know what is going to happen. We have prepared for everything.”

Bangladesh squad: Tamim Iqbal (capt), Liton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Towhid Hridoy, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Afif Hossain and Naim Sheikh.

Afghanistan squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Shahidullah, Zia-ur-Rehman, Wafadar Momand, Mohammad Saleem, Sayed Shirzad

Afghanistan Back-up players: Karim Janat, Zubaid Akbari, Qais Ahmad, Ihsanullah Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Naveen-ul-Haq, Farid Malik, Darwish Rasooli, Ishaq Rahimi

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