Bangladesh set a template to mitigate the Rashid Khan effect
10-1-66-0 - How often do we see Rashid Khan having such figures, especially in sub-continent conditions? Rashid looked like a pale shadow of himself with the ball as he ended up conceding the third-most runs in his ODI career.
While this outing can be termed rare, Bangladesh batters showed a template to counter the Rashid Khan threat. The batters completely mitigated the Rashid effect right from the start by following a template. Bangladesh did two things brilliantly throughout the innings - keeping the LHB-RHB combination and cutting off the dot balls against Rashid.
While Rashid is a seasoned campaigner, he still had to change his strategy on every other ball due to two distinct types of batters on the crease. Rashid started off his spell with a maiden against Mehidy Hasan Miraz. Now, that’s his strength - he keeps building on the pressure by piling up the dot balls, and when the batters try to break free, Rashid gets them.
The two in-form batters - Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto - quickly realised it, and they started to rotate strikes immediately from Rashid’s next over. The pair started putting the ball into the gaps and ran hard to make sure they didn’t miss any run-scoring opportunities. Rashid also erred on his lengths at times, to which both batters pounced upon.
Mehidy and Najmul cut down the dot balls completely without taking unnecessary risks. While the surface was ideal for the batters, it still had something for the slow bowlers. Whenever the ball was bowled in the right areas, the batters did find it difficult to score freely.
But Rashid’s lengths were disrupted by the two batters, as they took away his biggest strength - applying pressure by bowling dot balls. The occasional ones also went for the boundary, and the Afghan fielders didn’t help the cause either. Both batters knew the gaps quite well all around the ground and played on the merit of the ball.
In his next six overs, Rashid leaked 37 runs and could bowl only 11 dot balls. According to data posted by cricket.com, the superstar spinner couldn’t induce a single false shot in the first 40 overs of Bangladesh's innings. The two batters showed that Rashid can be taken down without trying too many things.
While Mehidy Hasan Miraz retired after batting more than 42 overs in scorching Lahore heat, the other batters coming to the lineup followed the same process. In fact, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan were quick to put pressure back on Rashid immediately by hitting him for the boundaries. In the last ten overs, where Rashid bowled four, the Bangladesh batters hit him for as many as 41 runs, including two boundaries and as many maximums. The LHBs - Najmul and Shakib - specifically targeted their favourable matchup to take 24 off Rashid while playing only a solitary dot ball. In this game, the 24-year-old had an economy rate of 7.07 against the southpaws, while he conceded around 6.19 runs per over against the right-handers. Among all his 10-over spells in the ODIs, he bowled the lowest % of dot balls (30) in this game.
Bangladesh might have provided a template to counter Rashid Khan in this format. Maintain an LHB-RHB pair and cut away the dot balls. More importantly, don’t overhit him because the calculated approach will lead to successful results. Rashid will definitely bowl the loose balls when he can’t attack one batter consistently, and the batters will have the chance to take those filth balls down to put him under pressure further - like Bangladesh did today.
Rashid Khan hasn’t been at his best in the fifty-overs format this year. If the opponents play him as skillfully as Bangladesh did today, the problems will only increase for Afghanistan.