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Afghanistan took a series-clinching 2-0 lead in their three-match Twenty20 International series against Bangladesh, being played in the north Indian town of Dehradun, on Tuesday. Now their focus is on making a historic first series victory against the Tigers into a memorable clean sweep. A team struggling with their T20I form, Bangladesh will be desperate to take away a few positives from the series. With the ‘home’ crowd making considerable noise for Afghanistan, Bangladesh’s task isn’t going to get easier. The two victories so far, by 45 runs and six wickets, have been engineered by their spinners, led by the redoubtable Rashid Khan. Khan, proving match after match just why he’s the undisputed No.1-ranked bowler in the world, has seven wickets, having gone for just 25 runs across two games. That’s an incredible economy of 3.57. Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have backed him up well, covering up when the pacers have been expensive.
The Bangladesh spinners too have been economical, but not as effective in taking wickets. Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain have enjoyed the conditions, but the Afghans’ low-risk strategy in facing them has worked out well. In fact, the strength of the Afghanistan batsmen has been their ability to quickly adjust. For instance, Samiullah Shenwari, who leads the batting charts, had a strike rate of 200 in the first match, hitting out at the death to finish with 36. But promoted to No.3 in the second game, he dug in to make 49 off 41. Tamim Iqbal showed good temperament in the second match with his 43 off 48, but Bangladesh will want more of their seniors to show more application against the spin attack. Squads: Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Asghar Stanikzai (c), Najeeb Tarakai, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Usman Ghani, Samiullah Shenwari, Darwish Rasooli, Karim Janat, Shapoor Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai. Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan(c), Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Abu Hider Rony, Rubel Hossain, Nazmul Islam, Soumya Sarkar, Ariful Haque, Abu Jayed, Abul Hasan