Bangladesh are eying third successive series victory inT20 format when they take on Afghanistan in the second and final match tomorrow (Sunday) at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
The match, which starts at 6 PM, will be aired live on Gazi Television and T Sports.
In its history only once the Tigers won three series in a row when they beat Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand at home in 2021.
The hosts won the first match by two wickets, overcoming a dramatic last over hat-trick of Karim Janat but what mattered most was that they showed a skill to be a giant in this format.
The victory was set up by the young players with Towhid Hridoy leading the team with a 47 not out. His knock came at a moment when Bangladesh were reduced to 64-4 and stood on the brink of a defeat.
Hridoy found support in another youngster Shamim Patwari as the duo dealt with Afghans much-vaunted spin attack astutely to combine for a 73 runs off just 43 balls. As their partnership edged the side closer to victory, Rashid broke it, dismissing Patwari for 33 but Hridoy stayed calm under pressure to take the game deep.
With six runs needing in the last over, Karim Janat injected life into the game, with a hat-trick before another youngster Shoriful Islam cut him past point fiercely for a boundary to ensure the victory.
Hridoy later said this kind of victory from a dire strait would boost their confidence for the future matches. And now it is to see if they could use this confidence to sweep the series.
In the last year too, Bangladesh found them in a position of sweeping the T20 series against the same team after winning the first game but Afghanistan bounced back to win the second match.
“A match like this will give confidence to every player regardless of who wins it. Because, such matches rarely happen. Being where I was, it feels good to finish the match from a place like that. When such an opportunity comes, every batsman aims to finish it. It feels good to be able to do that,” Hriody said.
By winning the first T20, Bangladesh closed the gap against Afghanistan in win-loss ratio. It’s their fourth victory in 10 matches against familiar foes, who still had the upper-hand with six wins.
Afghanistan spinners effort was undermined by the wet ground as they found it tough to grip and spin the wet ball. Rashid pointed out this factor for their defeat but the way Hridoy and Shamim Patwari chased the target is a boost for Bangladesh.
“The ground was very wet to be honest, and the strength we have, 50 percent was taken away from us with the wet ball. But we still bowled well, overall a great effort by the team. With the bowling unit we have, that total was enough but in T20 one innings can take away the game from you,” Rashid said.
Bangladesh had no practice ahead of the second T20 and it is also unlikely that they would tinker with the combination. Afghanistan who had an optional practice may bring up one or two changes.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Liton Kumer, Rony Talukdar, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Towhid Hridoy, Shamim Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Shoriful Islam, Rishad Hossain, Afif Hossain Dhrubo
Afghanistan: Rashid Khan (capt), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Shahzad, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Sediqullah Atal, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, and Wafadar Momand.