Desperate Tigers look to save skin

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The Tigers’ nightmare had come true Sunday evening as they lost the first game convincingly by 45 runs in their second ever meeting against Afghanistan in the format

Bangladesh will look to save their skin when they take on designated home side Afghanistan in the second game of the three-match T20I series at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun Tuesday. Bangladesh will be desperate to play their hearts out in the do-or-die affair in order to keep the series alive and avoid a possible humiliation.

The Tigers’ nightmare had come true Sunday evening as they lost the first game convincingly by 45 runs in their second ever meeting against Afghanistan in the format. The manner of defeat should ring alarm bells in the Bangladesh dressing room.

Bangladesh went into the series with worries lingering over how to tackle the Afghan bowlers, led by the world’s No 1 T20I bowler Rashid Khan. And following their performance in the first game, the Tigers should be looking to regroup and rethink their bowling strategy that had failed disastrously.

Bangladesh in the game had played three pacers, with two of them – Abul Hasan and Abu Jayed Rahi – proving to be bite-less, especially during the death overs. Afghanistan batsmen ensured of making the most of the situation in the last four overs of the innings, scoring 62 runs. Test and T20I captain Shakib al Hasan and all-rounder Mahmudullah took timely wickets but the decision to not bowl the spinners in the death was a huge mistake that saw the game taken away from them.

“Generally we bowled well, except for the last few overs which cost us the match. Giving away 62 in four overs was not ideal. We have a lot to do, we need to sit down and look at which areas we can improve. Obviously they are a good side, they outplayed us in all departments. It’s a tough decision (not to bowl Mahmudullah more). If I had given him one more over and had he gone for a few sixers, you would have asked me why I gave him the ball and not the regular bowlers. When you’re chasing 170-odd, you need to bat well, top-order batsmen need to bat through, but we kept on losing wickets. Credit to them. They have quality spinners and they stepped it up,” said Shakib following the defeat Sunday.

With the bat the top-order had failed but glimpses of a fight-back were displayed by the middle-order with wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah taking the charge. This should put some confidence into the batting department and make them come back strong in a must-win affair.

The only change Bangladesh can look into with the bat is bringing in the experienced Soumya Sarkar in place of youngster Mosaddek Hossain. While with the ball, the slow and low Dehradun surface could see the side include off-spinning all-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan will be eyeing a series win ahead of the third and final T20I. The side, which is often highly triggered by emotion, stands in front of a golden opportunity to bag yet another series win against a Test-playing nation.

“In every series and tournament, the first game is important. (Sunday) especially, all the batsmen played very well. Shafiq and Samiullah [Shenwari] gave us the momentum after we lost a few wickets in the middle overs. I know my bowlers, which time to use them. The conditions are good for us, we know the wickets, we know the conditions. I want to congratulate the Afghanistan people and thank the crowd, it felt like we were in Afghanistan,” said captain Asghar Stanikzai following their historic win in the first game.

Source: Dhaka Tribune.

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