Eager to keep the semi-final hopes alive, a desperate Bangladesh will have their work cut out when they take on a spirited Afghanistan in a do-or-die World Cup encounter here on Monday.
England's defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka on Friday breathed air into Bangladesh's hopes of securing a semifinal berth and the 'Tigers' will be keen on making the most of the situation starting with a win over the bottom-placed Afghanistan.
The Mashrafe Mortaza-led side, which is currently placed at sixth spot with five points, has batted pretty well so far in the tournament. After hunting down a target of 322 against West Indies in just 41.3 overs, Bangladesh fought admirably in a 382-run chase against Australia, finishing with an impressive 333/8.
The promotion of Shakib Al Hasan up the order has been one of the highlights of the World Cup. The all-rounder is just 22 runs behind Australia's David Warner, who is the tournament top scorer. The bowling, however, has been their undoing, as Bangladesh have conceded scores in excess of 320 in each of their last three completed games and the bowlers will have to step up to make life easier for their batsmen.
On the other hand, Afghanistan, who are still in search of their maiden win in the tournament, will be drawing a lot of positive from their previous game against India. The Afghans fell agonisingly short of India's target, losing by 11 runs on Saturday. But the team will take a lot of confidence from the fact that they restricted the famed Indian batting unit to 224 for 8.
Given their experience of the conditions here, captain Gulbadin Naib will expect his spinners to weave their magic once again against an in-form Bangladesh batting line-up on Monday.
The Afghanistan-Bangladesh tie is the 30th match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The match will take place at Rose Bowl cricket ground in Southampton. The match will start at 3 PM IST today. It will be broadcast live on StarSports network. Online viewers can logon to Hotstar for all the live action.
Both teams are expected to field the same playing XI as their last matches. Afghanistan had given India a run for their money in their previous match and are unlikely to tinker with the team that almost pulled off the huge upset. Bangladesh are coming off a brilliant over the West Indies and would also continue with the winning combination. Mehidy Hasan received a blow in the nets but he is expected to be fit for the game. In case he misses out, Mohammad Saifuddin might return.
Afghanistan: Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Aftab Alam, Gulbadin Naib (c), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan/Mohammad Saifuddin
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (WK), Mohammed Nabi, Mustafizur Rehman, Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rehman.