Afghanistan stunned Sri Lanka in their opening match on Saturday. (Asian Cricket Council)
It was a place they once called ‘home’ and Afghanistan return to Sharjah Cricket Stadium looking to become the first team to qualify for the Super Four of the DP World Asia Cup.
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium, so steeped in history, had been Afghanistan’s home ground for ODI and first-class cricket in 2010 after Abdulrahman Bukhatir, known as the father of cricket in the UAE had made the announcement.
And Afghanistan return to the happy hunting ground aiming to make the next stage of the Asian tournament.
After defeating ‘hosts’ Sri Lanka convincingly in the tournament opener at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday, Afghanistan turn their focus to Bangladesh, the other team in Group B. And a win would put them into the Super Four.
Despite a comfortable win against Sri Lanka, Afghanistan all-rounder Rashid Khan insisted that this is a new game and they are fully focused on it.
“We are prepared well and we played a good game against Sri Lanka. But that was on Saturday and that is done with,” Rashid Khan said at the ICC Academy, on the eve of the game, on Monday.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a new game and we always plan for every game and we are prepared well. We don’t think about what happened in the past, what will happen in the future. We just think about taking one game at a time and giving it our 100 percent. That is something which we can do. We don’t have the result in our hand but the hard work and the preparations that we have done will bear fruit. So, it doesn’t matter if other teams take us lightly, that is something that is not in our hands but we can do it just go out there and express our skills,” he added.
Standing in the way, Rashid believes is Bangladesh all-rounder and veteran Shakib Al Hasan. Apart from being named captain for the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup in Australia, Shakib is the most experienced player for Bangladesh.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be different conditions. The conditions are different in Sharjah than here. Shakib is leading them and is the most experienced player in the side and that will definitely help Bangladesh. It will make a huge difference, but, at the same time, we never think about what is going to happen and what will be the result. It is all about the process you go through and that is something that we, as players, have in mind. We just need to focus on that and we know our roles, our jobs and that is something which is in our control,” he felt.
“We have more youngsters now than before and most of the guys are enjoying this short format. But we will be playing in Sharjah after a long time. We haven’t played there for long time. But, at the same time, cricket remains the same and you know your roles. It is a big event and a big game and whoever plays better cricket and controls their nerves and focus on their jobs, will do their best,” Rashid added.
Afghanistan vs Bangladesh
Sharjah Cricket Stadium
6 pm UAE Time
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