Bangladesh vs Afghanistan: Preview and Prediction

The Bangla camp under the do-or-die threat

The anticipated saga of the Asia Cup 2023 had a blockbuster start as the continental caravan now moves towards the weekend showdown where the participating nations will be battling out for the tickets to the Super Four stage. 

Afghanistan will kick-start their campaign by facing the Bangladesh side which is in a do-or-die crisis. Match No. 4 from Group B on Sunday will be the first fixture of this edition to be hosted by Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. 

The doubts over the availability of Liton Das have turned out to be serious as the Bangladeshi vice-captain has been ruled out of the entire competition. Bangla team management is likely to make hefty changes in the batting unit as a disastrous collapse in the previous game became a major reason behind their loss. Anamul Haque who replaced the injured Liton in the squad is also expected to get featured in the playing XI. 

In the absence of Naveen-ul-Haq and Fareed Ahmed Malik, the fate of the Afghan bowling attack will heavily revolve around the 22-year-old Fazalhaq Farooqi. The T20-specialist bowling all-rounder Karim Janat has received a surprising call from the national team and is excited to make his comeback to ODI cricket after a long hiatus of six years. Rahmat Shah may also get featured in the Afghan 11 after being left out of the lineup in the last two games of the Pakistan series. 

What have they done so far?

Bangladesh had a forgettable start to their Asia Cup campaign as they suffered a thrashing defeat at the hands of the hosts Sri Lanka in the opening game. The bowling unit of the Men in Green sweated hard to defend the minimal first-innings total of 164 but could not stop the Lankan Lions from chasing it down in the 39th over. The five-wicket blow on Thursday marked the second consecutive instance when the Bangla Tigers commenced their continental journey with a losing outcome. 

On the other hand, this is going to be the first fixture for the Afghan Blues in the 16th edition of the Asia Cup. Afghanistan has appeared in the Super Four stages after topping Group B in the last two editions but could not advance to the finals on both occasions. Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi and his army recently toured Sri Lanka to face the neighborhood rivals Pakistan and ultimately ended up on the losing end of a whitewashing 3-0 saga. 

Head-to-Head Record

When Asia witnessed the Afghan roars for the first time!

A remarkable rise of this sport on Afghan soil resulted in the South Asian combatants achieving ICC Associate member status in 2013 and also making their continental cup debut the very next year. Under the leadership of Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan emerged victorious in their first-ever ODI encounter with Bangladesh at their own fortress in a group fixture of the 2014 Asia Cup edition. Despite losing the first battle, the Men in Green are still ahead of the Afghans in the head-to-head record and currently leading the scoreline by 8-6.

These two cricketing combatants have squared off against each other on the prestigious stage of the Asia Cup three times in a 50-over format to date. Afghanistan trumped the Bangla Tigers in the group stages of the previous ODI edition with a whopping win margin of 136 runs. However, we also witnessed the Men in Green quickly staging a bounce-back and avenging the earlier defeat by knocking them out of Super Four in the very same tournament. 

Afghanistan recently made a visit to the Land of Bengal in July 2023 to play a three-match ODI series at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium of Chattogram. The Green and Reds couldn’t even put up a strong fight against the visitors and suffered a whitewashing fiasco in a one-sided manner on home turf. 

Key Players

Shanto alone shined in the opening fixture of the Tigers

Najmul Hossain Shanto: The Men in Green may have lost their opening game against the hosts however, the 25-year-old batter kept the Bangla pride with his incredible knock. While batting at No. 3, he scored 89 runs off 122 balls and had a contribution of 54% in the team total of 164 runs. Shanto arrived at the crease in the second over and only left the battlefield after taking his nation a respectable first-innings score. 

Rahmanullah Gurbaz: Gurbaz has emerged as the most reliable knight in the Afghan batting unit after consistently delivering promising performances in this format. The 21-year-old wicketkeeping batter topped the run-scoring charts of the recently concluded Pakistan series fetching 178 runs from three innings with an average of 58. It will be all up to the star KKR opener to face the star-studded Bangla bowling lineup bravely and lay the foundation for Afghan innings. 

Predicted XIs

Bangladesh: Mohammad Naim, Anamul Haque, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Towhid Hridoy, Shakib Al Hasan ©, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi ©, Gulbadin Naib, Rahmat Shah, Shahidullah Kamal, Mohammad Nabi, Abdul Rahman, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi


It is going to be a tough contest of cricket between the two nations who believe in similar styles of play and also possess equal strengths. However, Afghanistan is still holding an advantage after registering a series win over their South Asian counterparts just two months ago. The key to success for the Afghan Blues will be targeting the opposition’s prime weakness of a feeble batting order.