Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 4, Bangladesh vs Afghanistan- Afghanistan Predicted XI

Will Afghanistan make any changes for the must-win game?

Afghanistan team
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Afghanistan team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Afghanistan came close to taking down another yet another giant in ODI cricket the other day only for them to crumble under immense pressure. The fast-improving team will only learn from such games and expect them to come hard at Bangladesh in a must-win clash to stay alive in the Asia Cup. Afghanistan will enter the contest much confident having beaten the opposition in style in the group stage.

But Asghar Afghan and his men will be aware that this is a new game and they will have to perform to their potential to get better of the Tigers for the second time. The players looked tired after playing back-to-back games and a rest day should keep them fresh for this encounter. All the eyes will be on their team combination and it was evident that they missed an out and out pacer in their ranks against Pakistan. Will the team management make any change to their settled playing XI then?

Here we bring you Afghanistan’s predicted XI for this game:

Openers (Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah Janat)

This interesting duo will continue to open for Afghanistan. Mohammad Shahzad, contrary to everyone’s expectations, has looked to preserve his wicket and should look to bat deep. His only issue is running between the wickets but his hitting abilities help him recover well.

His partner Ihsanullah Janat has looked calm and composed everytime he’s taken the field. But he will need to bat long and should look to convert the starts more often than not. Against Bangladesh, Janat will be tested again and should come out on top with flying colours.

Middle-Order (Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (c), Najibullah Zadran)

Rahmat Shah has batted according to the situation and his role doesn’t change. Though it could be argued that Afghanistan batsmen should avoid too many dot balls during their balls and the norm should be set by the top order itself. Who better than Rahmat should start it? He is touted as the upcoming star of the country and the team will be expecting more runs from him.

Hashmatullah Shahidi played the best knock of his life and deserved a century. But the fact that they scored only a run in last two deliveries might have just cost them the game against Pakistan. The left-hander is learning and should’ve understood by now that he should put the team ahead of the personal milestones. Asghar Afghan, the skipper, regained his lost touch at the right time and the rejuvenated form keeps the side in good stead now.

Najibullah Zadran needs to contribute more with the bat. His fielding is brilliant which he displayed with the run-out of Imam-ul-Haq. But his team would need him batting well especially in the death overs when the runs are paramount and avoid playing any dot balls.

All-Rounders (Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib)

Mohammad Nabi is struggling a bit with the bat in this tournament. There might be a case for his promotion as he likes a little time to go bonkers. He also had an off day with the ball against Pakistan. His all-round contribution is necessary for Afghanistan in the must-win game.

Gulbadin Naib has to improve his bowling in crunch situations. He crumbled under pressure. There is no doubt that he is a brilliant player and Afghanistan should take care of him. Fast bowling all-rounders are very rare and to have him is like Gold for them. Naib will also be crucial for them in the World Cup where the ball will move a bit but he has to show some improvement in the Asia Cup first for his team to stay in the hunt.

Bowlers (Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam)

What can we say about this duo? Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman thrive in pressure situations like they have been doing it for a long time now. Both of them were literally excellent and didn’t give anything away only to be on the losing side, unfortunately. A similar show is expected from them in this tussle as well.

Aftab Alam was crestfallen after Shoaib Malik hit him for 10 runs in two balls in the final over. He himself knows that he is a better bowler. But the champions come back strongly from worst situations and Aftab is surely one of those. His ability to swing the ball away has troubled the batsmen before and early wickets is key for him to gain the confidence.

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