There may be a sigh of relief among Bangladesh cricketers and management that they have managed to top group ‘B’ and avoid India in the semi-finals, but hey, Afghanistan won’t be a walk in the park in the semi-finals. The Afghans sent Pakistan home early bundling them out for 78 runs inside 20 overs in the opening contest of the competition. They gave India a scare as well and in fact they should start the semi-final as favourites.


If there are young wrist spinners, who want to enjoy tricks of the most difficult art in the game, don’t go anywhere but come to Moratuwa’s De Zoysa Stadium on Thursday.

Chinaman Noor Ahmad and leg-spinner Shafiqullah Ghafari have been sensational in the tournament so far having bowled so well and scripted some famous wins. The two wrist spinners operate in tandem and if Bangladesh were to come on top of that phase of the game that will be the key in beating Afghanistan.

Noor gives you the impression that he is a seamer with a longer run up and then all of a sudden he twirls deliveries with bounce and there’s very little clue which way the ball is going. Noor perhaps lacks a bit of control but Shafiqullah is on the money all the time. He hardly bowls a loose ball and his wrong’un fetches him lot of wickets. Both bowlers are tied at eight wickets each as joint highest wicket takers in the competition.

Coached by former Sri Lanka Test cricketer Naveed Nawaz, Bangladesh need to come up with a few plans on countering the wrist spinners.

Opening batsman Mahmudul Joy will be the key for Bangladesh. The elegant right-handed batsman will play the anchor role and then he has the ability to clear the boundary as well in the death overs. Much will be expected of left-arm spinner Rakibul Hasan, who is Bangladesh’s main bowler.

Afghanistan’s bowlers may defend small totals and then bowl out oppositions cheaply but their batting is so fragile that it causes serious problems. So far, no Afghanistan batsman has been able to score a half-century in the competition.


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Filed September 11th, 2019