Bangladesh vs Afghanistan: Preview and Prediction
While neither of these two teams is coming into this tournament with huge expectations, they will be eager to prove a point. For Bangladesh, it will be about showing they still have the ability to pull off upsets and beat big teams on their given day, after a poor run of recent form which included many off-the-field controversies as well.
On the other hand, Afghanistan need to prove that their good performances are not only restricted to T20 cricket, but they can also give a tough fight to the big boys of international cricket in the ODI format. Having lost all of their last six official ODI games, they will need to show why they belong to the biggest stage in cricket.
What have they done so far?
Bangladesh has had a mixed campaign in the warm-up games, where they won and lost one game each. In their first match against Sri Lanka, they bowled first and scored 263 runs, before chasing it down in only 42 overs at the loss of just 3 wickets. The star was opening batter Tanzid Hasan, who scored 84 runs.
On the other hand, the second game against England did not go as planned. Batting first in a rain-curtailed game, Bangladesh could only score 188/9 in 37 overs, while England chased down an increased target in only 24.1 overs.
Unlike Bangladesh, Afghanistan has played only a single warm-up game, as their first match against South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram was washed out. In their second match, they defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets.
Bowling first, Afghanistan conceded 294 runs, although Mohammad Nabi had a great time with the ball as he picked up 4 wickets. In yet another rain-affected game, Afghanistan chased down the revised total by scoring 261/4 in only 38.1 overs. The main performers for them were wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who scored 119 runs, and veteran batter Rahmat Shah, who scored 93 runs.
Head to Head Record
When it comes to head-to-head records, the scales are tipped in favour of Bangladesh. These two teams have met 15 times in ODI cricket, with the Tigers winning 9 of those games and the Afghans winning the other 6 matches.
The last meeting was only a month ago at the Asia Cup, where Bangladesh got a massive 89-run win. Batting first, centuries from Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto helped Shakib Al Hasan’s team score 334 runs, while Afghanistan could only reply with a total of 245 runs. Taskin Ahmed picked up four wickets in that game.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz (Bangladesh): At a time when Bangladesh cricket is going through massive changes and there are a number of experiments being carried out with the playing XI in almost every game, Mehidy Hasan Miraz has remained a consistently reliable player for the team. As mentioned earlier, he had an excellent Asia Cup campaign which included a match-winning century against Afghanistan.
The all-rounder was also brilliant in the two warm-up games. He scored 67 runs and picked up a wicket against Sri Lanka, and then against England, he scored 74 runs. As for his career ODI numbers, Miraz has scored 1046 runs in 82 games at an average of nearly 25, and with the ball in hand, he has picked up 91 runs at an economy rate of under 5 runs per over.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan): It might be true that Rashid Khan is not in a great run of form, considering he picked up only 2 wickets in as many games in the Asia Cup while conceding 129 runs. He also did not look great in the warm-up match against Sri Lanka, but having said all of that, Rashid remains Afghanistan’s biggest trump card.
Though known more for his T20 skills, his numbers in ODI cricket are often overlooked and under-appreciated. In 94 games, he has picked up 172 wickets at an average of under 20 and an economy rate of just over 4 runs per over. Moreover, he has also scored 1211 runs with the bat, at a strike rate of over 100.
Bangladesh: Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan ©, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahmudullah, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman.
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi ©, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashd Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi.
In the likes of Rashid, Gurbaz, Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Afghanistan has a core group of players who have experience of playing all over the globe and are renowned names in India as well. But Bangladesh’s overall balance, in addition to the highly experienced trio of Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, make them the favorites to win this game.