Bangladesh v Afghanistan, World T20, Group A, Mirpur

Top order can afford to settle in - Mushfiqur

Mohammad Isam in Mirpur

March 15, 2014

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Mominul Haque steadied the innings with a half-century, Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Asia Cup, Fatullah, March 1, 2014
Mominul Haque has a chance to break into the top order © AFP
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Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim is willing to allow the top order batsmen to take their time in the middle in T20s, as long as they push harder after getting set. Mushfiqur had factored in the slow pitches in Bangladesh which do not always allow batsmen to go for their shots early.

"The top three batsmen usually set up the game in T20s," Mushfiqur said ahead of Bangladesh's opening qualifier against Afghanistan in Mirpur. "The No.4 also has to join in. I think these batsmen have a lot of responsibilities. The wicket wasn't easy in the practice game against Ireland, making us to start slowly. We targeted 140-150, though Shakib [Al Hasan] and I took it further. If the openers give us a good start, the pressure lessens on the middle order. We would hope for such a start tomorrow, and then from the middle, we will finish it well.

"It was difficult to play shots from the word go in Fatullah, as the wicket was slow. We are willing to give batsmen time in the middle as long as they recover the scoring rate after getting set. The middle and lower order can do that recovery work but the top order can also do it after making a slow start."

Either of Anamul Haque and Shamsur Rahman will be vying to open with Tamim Iqbal, with the former ahead due to a recent ODI century against Pakistan and a half-century against India. However, Shamsur has opened for Bangladesh in their last six T20s.

Shakib and Mushfiqur usually bat at three and four, but there has been talk of slotting in either Mominul Haque or Sabbir Rahman in the top order too. "If either of Sabbir and Mominul plays, we will try to accommodate them in the top order," Mushfiqur said.

"We have enough batsmen and allrounders so we will take a decision on the team after taking a final look at the wicket. The decision will also depend on what balances our team, and in addition, we have a flexible batting line-up so we will be sending batsmen according to the situation."

Putting Shakib and Mushfiqur just after the openers has worked for Bangladesh, but if there has to be a choice between Mominul and Sabbir, it should be the latter. Sabbir has played just one T20 international, against Sri Lanka in Chittagong, but has been successful in domestic cricket in the last 12 months. He also played a match-winning innings for the Bangladesh side against Afghanistan in the 2010 Asian Games gold medal match, and has played similar sort of innings throughout his career. Although Mominul's overall strike-rate is higher than most in the Bangladesh team, he has only played four T20s.

Bangladesh's line-up will become slightly more streamlined as Mushfiqur returns as wicketkeeper, having recovered from a finger injury. He kept against Ireland, and says that he missed captaining from behind the stumps.

"I was feeling great yesterday (in Fatullah against Ireland). I can manage the pain that I am playing with. I can see the team very well from my favoured position. I hope to keep tomorrow as well," he said.

Mushfiqur firmly believes that Bangladesh has earned the amount of expectation that lies on their shoulders. They could be thrown out of the tournament if they lose to Afghanistan but he will take inspiration from home conditions and support.

"I don't think there is a lot of pressure on us. There is always going to be pressure at the international level. The Bangladesh team has earned this expectation and pressure for playing well in the last two years.

"We hope to perform up to expectations. Along with pressure, we have the home ground and support. I hope that with all these advantages, we can start off with a win," Mushfiqur said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (March 16, 2014, 7:26 GMT)

Bangladesh should unleash all their spinners today.Squad should be- 1. Tamim Iqbal 2. Anamul Haque 3. Mominul Haque 4.Shakib Al Hasan 5.Mushfiqur Rahim 6. Mahmudullah 7.Nasir Hossain 8.Sohag Gazi 9.Mashrafe Mortaza 10.Abdur Razzak 11.Rubel Hossain

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 7:18 GMT)

INSHALLAH Bangladesh will win quite handsomely.,.,.,.,.,.,.,

Posted by ms2000 on (March 16, 2014, 6:49 GMT)

BD are just a club class team. Afgans will show their might today for the ICC to open eyes and take a second look at Afganistan and admmi them to full status. They are the tean to watch in teh future. They have proved it more than once.. BD on the other hand have nothing to write back over the last last 10 years. Good luck Afgans

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 6:42 GMT)

Sporso, I am an Afghan and would like to mention that we are going head to head with Bangladesh in a War. it is just a simple cricket game any side has the possibility to win. Yeah, there must be some exaggerations from Afghan cricket team fans as the team in its cricketing history beat a test nation, that is not something big.

My opinion as an Afghan: I will set in front of my TV and watch the game, I will enjoy it even if Afghanistan losses or wins the game.

But one thing that really hurts was BD captin Mushi's comments regarding taking revenge, what revenge man. We never play cricket a game of revenge we play cricket a game of joy with ups and downs.

v/r sayad

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 6:29 GMT)

keep the pressure in the dressing room and go ahead.Think big from this tournament, don't think about afgan.Best of luck bangladesh.

Posted by Sajeeb_Narail on (March 16, 2014, 5:53 GMT)

They should've picked Zia.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 5:42 GMT)

I had been watching Band cricket since long. I suggest the best 11 for BD should be, Tamim, Anamul, Mushi, Shakib, Moninul, Nasir, Gazi, Mahmudullah, Mash, Al-amin and Razzaq.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 5:29 GMT)

Like many others have said, its just a game. Go and play the best that you can. If you win, well done. If you lose, try harder next time.

Posted by Ruhel420 on (March 16, 2014, 4:10 GMT)

Don't worry BD!!! We gonna win the match comfortably!

Posted by class9ryan on (March 16, 2014, 0:56 GMT)

Mushfqur Rahim is the most improved batsman in the last 2-3 years for Bangladesh. He has all the ability to make a difference. Possibly the player to watch out for in the World T20.

Posted by wapuser on (March 15, 2014, 20:39 GMT)

I think Bangladesh will be qualify for super 10.Tomorrow game will be the decider. And Bangladesh will prevail. Good luck to the game tomorrow.

Posted by wapuser on (March 15, 2014, 20:30 GMT)

Tomorrow game will be the decider who will be the group leader, and qualify. For the super 10 group, I think Bangladesh have a better chance,Good luck to the both team.

Posted by sporso on (March 15, 2014, 19:51 GMT)

I would say these Afghan supporters are talking too much, they just own one match against a test playing nation n I guess which was an upset, when the Irish team beat English n Netherlands beat Australia or even keneya went to wc semifinal that times their supporters did spoke that much arrogantly, these Afghan fans doesn't posses any cricket sense. I think agfans will have their ans tomorrow. Still best wishes for them.

Posted by smukhles on (March 15, 2014, 17:42 GMT)

@siddhartha87, Also I want to mention that Bangladesh had beaten West Indies by the margin of 3-2 in ODI series, leveled series in Sri Lanka 1-1, went to the final in last ASIA CUP by beating India, Srilanka and of course white washed NZ two times in a row, so these cannot be described as "THEY PLAYED WELL DURING LAST TWO YEARS?"

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 17:13 GMT)

in my point of view tomorrow squad should be . tamim . shamsur . mushy . shakib . sabbir . mominul . mahmudullah . razzak . mashrafe. gaji . al amin .

Posted by Nasim_Ahmed on (March 15, 2014, 17:00 GMT)

Go Mushy, we are with you, whatever awaits in the end we are proud of your team's passion and honesty, though I hope not you waste time reading this but I wish you use your bowlers in short spells, especially Mashrafe and Razzak. Keeping Nasir, the player under pressure, rested for the first match would benefit I think. Also to wait for Mashrafe until he is 100% fit... My XI: 1. Tamim 2. Shamsur 3. Anamul 4. Shakib 5. Mushy 6. Sabbir 7. Gazi 8. Mahmudullah 9. Al-Amin/Mashrafe 10. Rubel 11. Razzak

Posted by smukhles on (March 15, 2014, 16:28 GMT)

@siddhartha87, I am not sure if you follow Bangladesh Cricket at all, they have performed well in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh that included whitewashing New Zealand second time in a row. Please find the fact before posting a comment.

Posted by computerguru on (March 15, 2014, 16:07 GMT)

'Talk less and do more' should be the policy but unfortunately we, BD choose the opposite way. Mushi said he and shakib will finish it if the top order can put some initial runs, but, Shakib is totally unpredictable in batting now-a-days, he may even get out within the first three delivery he'll face. Mushi is reliable and will definitely score 35+ but there's no one capable of clean hitting in the lower order. They should've picked Zia. Also Mushi's un-imaginative and one dimensional captaincy is a big burden for us. That being said I hope we'll win tomorrow inshaaAllah.

Posted by asiacricket1234 on (March 15, 2014, 15:37 GMT)

@ TheRisingTeam Yea you are right. There was a time when Mushi's average was below 10 but now it is nearly 30 which is not great but it actually shows how much he improved. It is not easy to improve your average after 50+ matches but this guy have managed to do that in both test and ODI. He has been consistent too. In fact he is more consistent and responsible than Tamim. I don't think our captain gets the praise he deserves

Posted by Bdcricketdebator on (March 15, 2014, 15:36 GMT)

Bd needs to go with al amin and reza for their yorkers at death.mash could open the bowling with al amin or razzak ,acording to situation.gazi should not get picked of his poor form.the batting shouldn't be changed from the previous win against ireland.

Posted by TheRisingTeam on (March 15, 2014, 14:46 GMT)

People say Tamim and Shakib are our stalwarts and that's 100% true but we also have another one and his name is Mushfiqur Rahim. His overall stats may not support that yet but clearly in last 3 years he has improved considerably and possibly overall the best performing batsman right now for Bangladesh domestically and internationally.

Posted by lightOj on (March 15, 2014, 14:43 GMT)

@siddhartha87, Bangladesh did reasonably well for the past 2 years specially in their home soil. They beat WI by 3-2 in ODI ,level series by 1-1 in srilanka, beat NZ by 3-0 , Went upto asia cup final beating India and Srilanka etc. So there are some significant performance showed by them.

Posted by lightOj on (March 15, 2014, 14:23 GMT)

Afghanistan has a strong pace attack. But Bangladesh has way better batting line up and their spin bowling is also mentionable .If Bangladesh just play their natural game it shouldn't be difficult to beat Afghanistan. Though they beat Bangladesh in the asia cup, but this is a different day and different format. Afghanistan has nothing much to loose, so ultimately Bangladesh will be under pressure. But surely Bangladesh is clearly favorite in spite of their defeat in the asia cup.

Posted by HatersAreOrdinary on (March 15, 2014, 14:21 GMT)

InSha Allah we will win handsomely.. this is going to be a one sided match for sure. bangladesh all the way :D

Posted by siddhartha87 on (March 15, 2014, 14:16 GMT)

they performed well in last 2 years?? when? what? where?

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