In the game of cricket, Afghanistan are new entrants and come with a big disadvantage. World class training and practice facilities common in Australia and England are totally absent in Afghanistan. Most of the players in the team have had little coaching.
That showed in their batting, as they lost three quick wickets within just three overs with three runs scored. By the 22nd over, they were 65 with four batsmen out.
Earlier, Bangladesh scored 267, after being surprised by spells of good, accurate fast bowling from Mirwais Ashraf and Shapoor Zadran who took four wickets between them to put Bangladesh on the backfoot in the first 20 overs.
Batsmen Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib al Hasan then staged a recovery, with scores of 71 and 63 respectively. Just when it looked like they might accelerate, Hamid Hasan bowled out Hasan. After that Bangladesh batsmen started going for big shots, but lost a spate of wickets against a disciplined Afghan pace attack and finished lower than what they would have hoped for.
Bangladesh have been around for fifteen years, and beyond causing the occasional upset, don't have much to show for. But they are still favoured to win against Afghanistan, the debutant team. The score of 267, not much on a batsman friendly track, might well be enough.
Given the hardships faced by Afghan players, it is a wonder they are in Australia at all. The team captain Mohammad Nabi grew up in refugee camps with other children displaced by years of war.
Bangladesh will view them as serious opponents after Afghanistan beat them in a low-scoring game in the Asia Cup last year.
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