Desperate Tigers ‘to bring A game’ against Farooqi and Co
Bangladesh are expected to face a stiffer challenge in their do-or-die Asia Cup match against Afghanistan at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore today.
Batting remained the biggest area of concern -- as evidenced by a lacklustre performance in the first game which saw the Tigers get bundled for a meek 164 against a relatively inexperienced Sri Lankan bowling attack. When it comes to Afghanistan, who possess two world-class spinners in Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, they are always in contention to make even the in-form teams work for their runs.
However, it appears that Fazalhaq Farooqi could pose a greater threat for the Tigers' vulnerable top-order. Farooqi, 22, has been lethal against Bangladesh in recent times, having contributed with eight scalps and two three-wicket hauls in their 2-1 away series win against the Tigers in July this year.
Overall, Farooqi had 14 wickets in six games against Bangladesh, at an economy of 4.46. The left-arm seamer not only provided the early breakthrough but also left the Tigers batters perplexed with his lethal full-pitched deliveries swinging both ways.
Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha is well-aware of the Afghan bowling unit's threat, but is optimistic that the Tigers batters will be able to emerge unscathed in the vital Asia Cup match.
"Afghanistan's bowling attack is one the best in the world and definitely it's a challenge. We have played against them recently and our players had some success. So, it all depends on the day how you perform. We are very much aware of the challenge that we are going to face," Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha told the media yesterday.
As the game will be played in Lahore's Gaddafi stadium, where pacers have historically enjoyed a clear edge over spinners in 64 ODIs -- having registered 519 scalps against 239 -- it would be intriguing to see how the Bangladesh batters negotiate someone like Farooqi.
Given the conditions against Afghanistan in store, it will be fascinating to watch if the Bangladesh team management chooses a different team combination.
"We just arrived here and we haven't seen the wicket yet. Definitely if the condition and pitch here is different, we will definitely think about a different combination," Hathurusingha said.
Bangladesh will need to beat Afghanistan to keep their dreams of qualifying for the Super Four stage alive, but they will also need to rely on the net run-rate to progress.
"Before we think about the final, we need to get to the second round. So, this game is very important because of what happened in the last game against Sri Lanka.
"So, we know this is a must-win game for us and we certainly didn't play to our potential in the last game and we didn't represent ourselves well enough. But we are confident to bring our A game against Afghanistan tomorrow [today]," said the Bangladesh coach.