Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim on Thursday said that Bangladesh would be under pressure against a top quality Afghanistan spin attack in their forthcoming Twenty20 series in Dehradun, India.
The Tigers will play a three-match Twenty20 series against the Afghans, scheduled to start on June 3 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, where they will be up against world class spinners like Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
The second and third Twenty20 matches will be played on June 5 and 7 respectively at the same venue.
After their recent triumph in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, both the Afghan spinners are having a great time in the ongoing Indian Premier League with their respective franchises — Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab.
The batsmen all over world were seen struggling against the spinning duo.
Their performances in the shortest format of the game are quite exceptional, which is believed to be the main reason why Afghanistan are currently placed in eighth position of the ICC Twenty20 rankings.
‘Afghanistan is a very challenging team in Twenty20 format,’ Mushfiq told reporters in Mirpur.
‘They have some world-class bowlers. They have been doing well in the IPL also. We will have to play against them.
‘Last time when they came here [Bangladesh], we lost an ODI against them. So, I think overall we are in a challenging position. They will play at their home ground which will be a big advantage for them.
‘They also got Test status and will play a Test match next. They are also a good side in ODIs.
‘They have qualified for the World Cup. So everything will be in their favour. They will play in the familiar surface. So I think because of all these reasons we will start the series from behind,’ he added.
Rashid is currently the top ranked bowler in the ICC Twenty20 bowlers’ rankings.
The 19-year old leg-spinner is already in seventh place in the highest wicket-takers list of the ongoing IPL where he bagged 13 wickets in 10 matches, with an economy of 7.15.
His fellow countryman Mujeeb, who is playing for Kings XI Punjab is also having an impressive time by picking up 14 wickets in 10 matches and placed in third in the most wicket-takers list.
Mushfiq claimed that it would be challenging for the Tigers to face such high ranked bowlers in the forthcoming series.
However the 31-year old batsman also revealed that their performance in the Nidahas Trophy would inspire them to perform well against the Afghans.
‘Rashid Khan is a world-class bowler. No team in the IPL was able to take more than six to seven runs from him except one match. So it will be challenging for us,’ said Mushfiq.
‘Not only Rashid, Mujeeb also bowls with the new ball. We have to go ahead by making plans.
‘We are hopeful that we will do well. We have some highly experienced capable players. If they clicked at the right time we will have a great series.
‘We will get confidence from our last Twenty20 series in Sri Lanka. It was important for us to beat Sri Lanka and perform well against India. All in all, we have to face a lot of challenges in the next series,’ he added.
Bangladesh will depart for Dehradun on May 29 and will play a practice match on June 1 at the same venue.
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