In a mesmerizing display of spin bowling, the dynamic duo of Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Shakib Al Hasan spun a web around Afghanistan, propelling Bangladesh to a resounding victory on the third day of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. Their combined figures of 6/55 in 17 overs left Afghanistan in a spin, effectively dismantling their top order and playing a pivotal role in limiting their first innings total to a paltry 156 all out.
The remarkable aspect of this match was the unexpected assistance that spinners found on the Dharamsala wicket. Historically, this venue had been a seam bowler’s paradise, but on this particular day, it was the spinners who reigned supreme. Mehidy Hasan Miraz reflected on this surprising turn of events, saying, “We didn’t expect that. You know, from the start, Shakib and I did very well. And the first few balls, we got a little bit of turn. After that, information was passed on by Shakib that the ball was turning. So, if you bowl on the right track, it might be good for a spinner and obviously for the pace bowlers also. We just discussed and thought about how to bowl in these conditions.”
Mehidy Hasan Miraz praised the entire bowling unit, emphasizing their resilience. He noted, “The way the bowlers bowled was really well. From the start, our fast bowlers didn’t bowl that well, but they came back strongly.”
On the other side, Afghanistan’s head coach, Jonathan Trott, acknowledged the stark contrast in the performance of spinners from both teams and suggested that Afghanistan’s struggles against spin were a significant factor in their loss. Trott remarked, “We didn’t play the spinners at all well, and they played our spinners okay. It just was a stark contrast to the way that we played the Bangladesh spinners. They bowled well, they’re fine bowlers, but we allowed them to bowl well.”
Trott also speculated about the pitch conditions, suggesting that the ball might have spun even more if the game had extended for a few more overs. He commented, “I thought it did turn a little bit as well, it sort of held up. I thought if the game had gone another 20 overs or 12 overs in our innings and then a little bit longer, I think the ball would have spun towards the end of the innings as well.”
However, Trott didn’t shy away from addressing Afghanistan’s batting struggles, stating, “I think when you lose nine wickets for 73 there is a problem, yeah. So, the decision-making, the stability, certainly when you get bowled out in 38 overs, that was the problem today.”
Looking ahead, Afghanistan faces a challenging set of fixtures against India and England. Trott expressed his desire for the team to bounce back from this initial setback, saying, “I’d like to see us bounce back. I think, obviously, we know the areas we need to improve. And we’ve got two big games in Delhi now against India and then England. We travel tomorrow, have a couple of practices, and then a big match against India, which is going to be a great spectacle. I know the boys will be really, really up for it.”
As Afghanistan prepares to face formidable opponents in India and England, Bangladesh will stay in Dharamsala for their upcoming clash against England, promising another intriguing battle of skills and strategies in this thrilling World Cup campaign.