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Best Asia XI that can face off against World XI

18 Feb 2020 CricTracker

Ravichandran Ashwin (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) will be commemorating the 100th-anniversary Sheikh Mujibur Rahman- the founder of the country and in order to do so will host two T20I matches between Asia XI vs World XI in the capital city of Dhaka. The board also released the schedule of the series which will be played in March of 2020. The two matches will be hosted by the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Dhaka on March 18 and 21. It was also earlier decided that the third game of the series will be played at the newly built Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, as part of its inauguration, but that plan was scrapped as the stadium couldn’t get ready in time. With four major Asian cricketing boards agreeing to release players for the two-match T20I series, we take a look at which of the cricketers may take part in the matches. Here’s the possible Asia XI which may face off against the World XI in Dhaka in March: 1. Hazratullah Zazai (Afghanistan) Hazratullah Zazai. (Photo Source: Twitter) The 21-year-old Afghanistan opener Hazratullah Zazai has been a star for their team when it comes to the T20 format. Zazai has played 13 T20Is for the team and has made 519 runs with 2 fifties and one century to his name. The prolific opener has the highest score of 162* came against Ireland in 2019, which led the Afghanistan team to a world record total of 278 runs in the match. He has experience of playing in Bangladesh as well, playing for Rangpur Riders and Dhaka Dynamites in the Bangladesh Premier T20 league and in all T20s, he has 1425 runs in 47 matches at a strike rate of 151.59, astonishing for an opener and average of 31.66. A quick start is definitely on the cards if Zazai gets going and a big total on the board, if the left-hander takes a liking to the opposition bowlers. Hence, he can emerge as a vital top-order batsman for Asia XI. 2. Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka) Kusal Mendis (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images) Kusal Mendis is an anomaly in the T20 cricket, given that he is a proper batsman with a beautiful technique. However, he has employed that copybook cricketing style to his advantage in the shortest format of the game as well and has found success as well. In 24 T20I matches, the Sri Lankan batting stalwart has 473 runs with five half-centuries to his name and the highest score of 79 with a strike rate of 133.99. In all T20s, he has 1140 runs in 47 matches with 10 fifties at a strike rate of 140.04. These may not be the kind of numbers we usually see in the slam-bang format, but Mendis is the kind of batsman who can anchor the innings in the case early wickets fall and let the hitters in the XI have the freedom to go after the bowling instead. 3. Dinesh Karthik (India) Dinesh Karthik (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) Dinesh Karthik is a name the Bangladeshi public will not forget for a long time. It all stems from those two final overs in the title match of the Nidahas T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka when India met Bangladesh. India needed 34 odd runs in the final 12 deliveries, when Karthik slammed Rubel Hossain for two sixes and two fours, taking 22 runs and then hit a last-ball six off Sarkar to win the title. Karthik is one of the most experienced T20 players in the world and is currently the captain of IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. He has played 32 T20Is for India and 288 T20 matches overall. He has 5708 runs in those matches with 29 half-centuries to his name with the highest score of 97* at a strike rate of 132.92. It is his experience at both rotating the strike and hitting the big shots which make him an asset for any team and might play a similar role for the Asia XI if picked. 4. Mahmudullah (Bangladesh) – (C) Mahmudullah. (Photo Source: Getty Images) Mahmudullah has been handed the reins of the Bangladeshi T20 side in absence of Shakib Al Hasan. The 34-year-old first performed on the international stage in South Africa in the 2007 World T20 and became a staple of the team. His aggressive batting and part-time off-spin made him a brilliant asset to the team and shined brightly in the 2015 World cup where he became the first Bangla batsman to hit a century. Right now he led the team against Pakistan in a T20I series, which his side lost 2-0; but the Bangladesh board have decided to put their eggs in Mahmudullah’s basket and given the importance of this year which has a T20 World Cup in it. It is expected that he will also helm the Asia XI in this important occasion for Bangladesh. Mahmudullah has 3859 runs in 212 T20 matches with a strike rate of 120.51 and 13 fifties to his name, record that speaks for itself. 5. Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh) – (WK) Mushfiqur Rahim. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images) Perhaps one of the most experienced Bangladesh cricketers, Mushfiqur Rahim is a former captain and one of the leading batsmen in the world, who has made the country proud with his ability with the willow. The 32-year-old has the experience of playing 190 T20 matches and 84 of them have come for the Tigers. He has overall 3984 runs with 24 half-centuries with a highest score of 98* and strike rate of 129.05. Rahim may be short in stature, but he has all the variations of shots and uses the angles brilliantly while maintaining a good strike rate in his innings. He was the hero in Bangladesh’s first-ever T20I win over India recently and has shown a liking to performing on the big stage. Given that Bangladesh wants this big event to be successful, the onus of making it amazing falls on the shoulders of Rahim, and it is mostly believed that he will come good on the big stage. 6. Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan) Mohammad Nabi (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images) The no.1 all-rounder in the latest ICC T20I rankings, former Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi is probably one of the most exciting cricketers in the T20 format. Nabi, 35, has experience of 75 T20Is for Afghanistan and has made 1316 runs and picked 69 wickets for his team. He has a strike rate of 145.89 and his best bowling is 4/10. He has experience of playing all over the world and maybe one of the most valuable members of this probable Asia XI team. He has 3920 runs and 255 wickets in 255 T20 matches, but most importantly, it is his ability to make quick runs down the order and bowl economically and pick wickets in power plays. 7. Ravichandran Ashwin (India) Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) R Ashwin may not have played a T20I match for the Men in Blue since 2017, but he has been a regular feature in the Indian Premier League and will turn out for Delhi Capitals in the 2020 edition of the world’s most popular T20 league. Ashwin has also captained Kings XI Punjab in the league for two years. Meanwhile, he might be picked to give the team a proper spinner who can pick wickets and increase pressure on the opposition batsmen. He has more than necessary variations in his kitty and is not afraid to use it in matches. More so, he may very well use unconventional methods to get wickets s well. Ashwin’s record is stellar with 235 wickets in 232 T20 matches with the best bowling of 4/8 and has an economy of 6.88. He also has 52 wickets in 46 T20I matches for the Indian team.’ 8. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter) Rashid Khan is the no.1 ranked T20I bowler who has a stellar record in the 20-over format. The young leggie, who has also led the Afghanistan team as well, holds the record of picking four wickets in four balls in a T20I, a feat he achieved against Ireland in 2019. Rashid has 291 wickets in 205 T20s with an economy of 6.30 and the best bowling of 5/3. He can also give the ball a pretty good whack with the bat and fancies himself to be an all-rounder given that he has one fifty and scores runs at a strike rate of 148.62. The 21-year-old has respect all over the world for his genius with the ball and for his affable personality. Khan is probably the biggest cricketer to come out from Afghanistan and may well be an attraction in this Asia XI team which will be pitted against World XI. 9. Jaydev Unadkat (India) Jaydev Unadkat. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS) Jaydev Unadkat has been one of the best bowlers in the T20 format in India. He has excelled with the white ball in the shortest format for both Saurashtra and every IPL franchise he played for in the richest T20 league of the world. He has also played 10 T20Is for India, picking 14 wickets at an economy of 8.68. He was in news recently for Rajasthan Royals paying almost 20 crore INR over three years in IPL auction for him. In 134 T20 matches, he has picked 168 wickets with the best bowling of 5/25, including a hat-trick for Rising Pune Supergiant. He has an economy of 7.89 and an average of 22.32. He can also contribute with the bat in lower order as well. 10. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh) Mustafizur Rahman. (Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images) Mustafizur Rahman is one of the most exciting bowlers in the world for his amazing qualities of bowling in the shorter formats of the game. Since the 24-year-old bowler made his debut in 2015, Rahman has been the talk of the town for his ability to bowl amazing slower deliveries and his toe-crushing yorkers. He has 135 wickets in 109 T20 matches with the best bowling of 5/22 with the economy of 7.22. For the Tigers, he has 53 wickets in 29 T20Is with an economy of 7.97. Though he lost his mojo a bit in the last year or so, Mustafizur has slowly but surely gained traction when it comes to form, bowling economically against Pakistan in the T20I series recently. 11. Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) Lasith Malinga (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP) Lasith Malinga is by far the greatest bowler in T20 matches. The 36-year-old is one of the leading wicket-takers in both T20Is and T20 format. His bowling abilities are best used in the death overs when his killer slow balls and pinpoint yorkers come to fore and keep the opposition from scoring much-needed runs in last few overs. With age, his speed has diminished a bit, but the wit has remained the same. In 293 T20s, he has 389 wickets with best of 6/7 at an economy of 7.04. He has 10 four-wicket hauls and five 5-wicket hauls in the format to his name along with a couple of hat-tricks as well. He is also the first bowler to have two instances of picking four wickets in four consecutive balls in international cricket. Malinga’s radiant smile and bowling acumen make him a very good attraction for any team he plays and BCB will definitely look to bring him in for such a big occasion for the whole country of Bangladesh.

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