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Afghanistan Sweat on Rashid Khan Fitness for Tri-Series Final Against Bangladesh

Afghanistan will be looking to get back to winning ways after they lost two consecutive games which ended their 12-match winning streak.

Cricketnext Staff |September 23, 2019, 6:27 PM IST
Afghanistan Sweat on Rashid Khan Fitness for Tri-Series Final Against Bangladesh

While Afghanistan’s medical team sweats over the fitness of their captain Rashid Khan, the rest of the team will be looking to get back to winning ways after they lost two consecutive games which ended their 12-match winning streak.

To do so they have to beat hosts Bangladesh in the final of the T20I tri-series at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

Afghanistan and Bangladesh have played each other twice in the tournament with both sides winning one each.

Afghanistan will need their batsmen to stand up and make themselves be counted unlike the last time when Afif Hossain was instrumental in restricting them to 138. And if Rashid is unavailable, the onus will be on the likes of Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib and Mujeeb Ur Rahman to fill up the void.

Among the batsmen, Hazratullah Zazai showed some impressive form in the last game, but Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran and co will be needed to show some resistance even if they aren’t able to use the long handle to good effect.

"I cannot say that he [Rashid] will be available [for the final]. He is doing well and let's see what's happening. We will have two or three days for recovery. I hope it's not that serious because he is our captain and main player, and we will monitor him tomorrow and the day after,” Nazim Jar Abdur Rahim Zai, the Afghanistan team manager, said.

Bangladesh were made to work hard for their first win in the series, but since then things have improved quite a bit for the hosts and the return to form for skipper Shakib Al Hasan can only be a good thing because their batting has struggled. Only Mahmudullah has shown signs of form, accumulating runs in triple digits for the series.

Their spinners, too, have surprisingly not played as big a role thus far. Right-arm pacer Mohammad Saifuddin has been excellent so far, picking up seven wickets at 13.71, including a four-wicket haul. Can the slower bowlers step up and support him in the final to rein in Afghanistan?

The hosts have not had the best run in the shortest format of the game in recent months admittedly, and will hope the final in their own back yard can help turn a corner.

"If you look at the last few months, the way we've performed in T20 is not up to the mark. We needed to improve, and we’ve been working on it. This win will give us motivation, and a lot of confidence going into the final," Shakib said ahead of the match.

It’s going to be an overcast day in Dhaka, with a 50% chance of rain through the day. The chances reduce substantially around the match’s start time, but don’t be surprised if we have an interruption or two.

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