Afghanistan did win one match against Bangladesh in Asia Cup last year and if it can balance circumspection and innate aggression, it can repeat the experience once again at Canberra on Wednesday.
Time: 14:00 Local Time (03:30 GMT);
VENUE: Manuka Oval, Canberra
UMPIRES: Steve Davis, Joel Wilson, Aleem Dar, Richard Kettleborough
REFEREE: Jeff Crowe
But this time, Afghanistan will face two non-formidable players in Bangladesh team Shakib Al Hasan, its best player, and Tamim Iqbal, its most explosive batsman, who were not there in the last face off.
Despite its inherent indifference, Bangladesh has plenty of skill in the ranks and an experienced team that knows how to make it big in international tournaments. Afghanistan has a pace attack capable of worrying more heralded sides. its bowlers — Hamid Hassan has taken 22 wickets in his last ten ODIs, while the Zadrans – Shapoor and Dawlat – offer a matured sort of test. Mirwais Ashraf also bowled tidily in the warm-up against India, though the team faced defeat.
Bangladesh mostly relies on spin in home conditions, but in Canberra it may send its three pacers — Mashrafe Mortaza, the standard-bearer while Taskin Ahmed is an exciting prospect, and they are likely to be joined by one of the Hossains. The more experienced Rubel may get the approval over Al-Amin.
Afghanistan faced the Indian spinners with much trouble, hence it may open up to Bangladesh spinner easily. If Afghanistan keeps its composure, all the batsmen can destroy the pacers from Bangladesh and resist spinners with caution.
Mohammad Nabi, the Afghanistan captain, was upbeat from the beginning. “We’ve prepared well. The players are immensely fitter than what they were a year ago. They understand the hardness of the game. We’ve played against some pretty good opposition over the last six-seven months
by touring and playing in Western Australia and New Zealand. We played India the other day,” he said.
Refuting that the team was nervous, he said, “Are we nervous? No, we’re excited. But we know we’re in for some serious challenges in this competition. But if we do our things right and only concentrate on our own skills, the results and performances will look after themselves.”
Surely, Afghanistan is on a brighter side and its progress is far better than what we have seen in the Asia Cup of 2014.
The ICC World Cup Match will be shown live on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1, while the live-streaming will be available on Starsports.com in the sub-continent.
Those in the UK can see it live on Sky Sports 2 which has been telecasting as Sky Sports World Cup. For live streaming, they can access Sky Go.
Live Score: www.icc-cricket.com
Bangladesh has lost four if its last five T20s.
Afghanistan has won 11 and lost 11 of their 22 T20Is. It has lost four of its last six T20s.
Mushfiqur Rahim has scored 101 runs at an average of 50.5 in three T20I innings at the Sher-e Bangla
National Cricket Stadium.
Bangladesh v Afghanistan – Shakib Al Hasan vs. Samiullah Shenwari
Shakib Al Hasan is Bangladesh’s best bet in all formats and his explosive stroke-play and canny left-arm spin dominates games most. Only Anamul Haque has a higher strike rate amongst Bangladesh’s current top order than Shakib’s 127.8 with a bowling average of 19.1 and economy rate of 6.7.
Samiullah Shenwari has an economy rate (5.9) and it will be the leg-spinner’s prime job to keep Shakib happy and he is also good with the bat, with a recent half-century to his credit against India
in a ODI.
Mohammad Nabi will become the second player to captain Afghanistan in 10 T20I matches. Rahim needs two dismissals to become the sixth wicket-keeper to take 30 T20I dismissals. A defeat for Bangladesh would make Rahim the captain with most T20I defeats for Bangladesh. He and Mohammad Ashraful have both lost 9 matches each.
Bangladesh is poised to win but Afghanistan will show its resistence for long on the crease.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (capt), Javed Ahmadi, Usman Ghani, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Afsar Zazai (wk), Mirwais Ashraf, Shapoor Zadran,
Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan.