By – Arjun R
Time: 9 am IST
Date: 18th Feb
Venue: Manuka Oval, Canberra
In the second all Asian battle of the 2015 ICC World Cup, giant killers Bangladesh take on new comers Afghanistan in the picturesque Manuka Oval.
Bangladesh on their day can give the best teams in the world a run for their money. Their rise in status from minnows to giant killers has been nothing short of exceptional. They begin their campaign against an Afghanistan side that every other team in Group A will expect a cakewalk against. A win in this fixture is crucial for Bangladesh as they might find it hard to beat the other heavyweights in seamer friendly conditions. It is up to Sakib and his boys to call the shots as the tigers will look for a dominant performance in the opener.
Afghanistan are the impressive newcomers to the world stage and will certainly look to upset a few sides in their debut run. They perhaps have nothing to lose and hence will be the lesser pressurized side when compared to Bangladesh. Their bowling lineup is blessed with some fine swing bowlers like Dawlat and Shapoor Zadran who will look to make the most of the given conditions. It is their batting however that has been their cause of misery and that is the key area that Bangladesh will look to exploit.
X Factor : Bangladesh are predominantly a spinner friendly side who generally field at least 4-5 tweakers in the lineup. The conditions in Canberra will prove to be nightmare for them if they persist with the same strategy. Afghanistan on the other hand seem to have a mixed bag of bowlers all of whom will suit the occasion. This might give the debutants a slight edge.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (c), Afsar Zazai (wk), Aftab Alam, Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Javed Ahmadi, Mirwais Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Nasir Jamal, Nawroz Mangal, Samiullah Shenwari, Shapoor Zadran, Usman Ghani.
Bangladesh: Masrafe Bin Mortaza (c), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque Bijoy, Mominul Hoque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Shabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Al Amin Hossain, Taijul Islam, Arafat Sunny.