Even though Afghanistan lost the ODI series against Bangladesh 2-1, they wouldn’t be too disappointed. It wasn’t the format they love playing and scoring a win over one of the established test-playing nations is certainly an achievement in itself. Bangladesh too wouldn’t be disappointed with the result.
Up next, Bangladesh is set to lock horns with Afghanistan in a T20I series that should prove to be a contest much closer than the ODI series was. Afghanistan loves playing this format and the hosts aren’t particularly fond of the longer white-ball format. The series kicked off with the first match to be played at Shere Bangla National Stadium on 3rd March 2022.
BAN VS AFG TEAM PREVIEWS
Bangladesh has not played a T20I game together as a side but most of their players did feature in the Bangladesh Premier League 2021-22, which was as good an experience as the international players get. However, given that Bangladesh does not play T20Is as often, they might well be rusty first-up in the opening game of the series.
Bangladesh is back at their full-strength side after including certain players that they so dearly missed in the World Cup. The likes of Litton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Shakib Al Hasan have all been in excellent form of late and will be looking to make it count in this T20I series. Apart from them, we might well see Munim Shahriar making his debut, largely because of the way he performed in the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League.
While batting looks good for the hosts, their bowling does look a bit pale in comparison to that of the visitors. Apart from Mahedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, and Shakib Al Hasan to some extent, Bangladesh lacks firepower with the ball. They would need top-notch support from their lesser experienced players, especially if the match happens to be a low-scoring one.
Overall, Bangladesh has a decent side that seems to be having almost all its bases covered. The ones that they do not – they would be hoping that Afghanistan isn’t able to target the gaps as profoundly as they can. Regardless, if the top players can bring their A-game out and they get ample support from the youngsters, getting past Bangladesh will need a colossal effort, especially with Bangladesh playing at home.
After having a dreadful first part of the ODI series, Afghanistan bounced back with a remarkable win over Bangladesh in the final ODI and that win would have certainly helped them gain plenty of confidence. Not only that, they are back playing the format they have enjoyed most of their success in and will be looking forward to it.
Out of their last six matches against Bangladesh, Afghanistan has won four. The other stats also prove how good Afghanistan is in the shortest version of the game, especially in the subcontinent conditions. As compared to the side Afghans fielded in the World T20 last year, we are set to see pretty much a new-look side in the upcoming contest. The likes of Mohammad Shahzad, Hamid Hassan, Gulbadin Naib, and Hashmatullah Shahidi are set to make way for younger players.
With many senior pros absent, a lot will depend on the likes of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran for Afghanistan to do well with the bat. Having said that, batting has always been their second-favorite suit and they will be least worried about the missing players. It is their bowling that has won them various accolades in recent times and a lot will depend on that this time around too.
Their bowling looks well-settled and at its full strength with the spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman fit and available. Apart from them, they have Qais Ahmed and Omarzai in the mix. They do appear a little light on the pace bowling front, but it is unlikely to matter much, especially looking at the conditions were are likely to get in this upcoming match. All in all, Afghanistan does have some gaps but they shouldn’t be worried about those, especially with the strength they have in their other departments. If Afghanistan can play to their potential with the team they have, they should be able to sail through to a much-needed win here.
BANGLADESH VS AFGHANISTAN MATCH DETAILS:
Match: Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I
Date and Time: March 3, 2022; 2:30 PM IST
Venue: Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
BANGLADESH VS AFGHANISTAN PITCH REPORT
The surface at the venue is known to assist spin. With this being a 3 PM local time start, it will be a fresh pitch and good for batting. However, the surface might turn a little later as the game progresses.
Expect the team to win the toss and bat first.
BANGLADESH VS AFGHANISTAN WEATHER REPORT
The sun will be brimming in Dhaka during the match. The temperature is expected to be in the early 30s while it will come down to 27 degrees Celsius as the game progresses.
There is no chance of rain whatsoever.
BANGLADESH VS AFGHANISTAN PROBABLE PLAYING XIS
Munim Shahriar, the opening batter who impressed in the recently concluded BPL, looks set for an international debut. Shakib, Rahim, and Litton will walk back into the playing XI.
Afghanistan is expected to hand out debuts to Darwish Rasooli and Azmatullah Omarzai given the make-up of their squad. Nabi is back to lead the side while Rashid Khan continues to be the spearhead of the bowling attack.
All eyes will also be on Fazalhaq Farooqi, who was impressed in the ODI series.
BANGLADESH VS AFGHANISTAN MATCH PREDICTION
Clearly, on paper, Bangladesh has a brilliant and experienced side with the return of Shakib and Rahim. But Afghanistan has always tended to perform superbly in T20s.
Expect them to take an early lead in the series.
Prediction: Afghanistan to win the match.