It might come as a surprise, but Afghanistan holds the upper hand in head-to-head records against Bangladesh, having won four of the seven meetings. The Tigers have emerged victoriously on only two occasions, while one game was abandoned.
That being said, Bangladesh will still be favorites for this match for a couple of reasons – firstly, they are a tough nut to crack at Mirpur, and also, Mahmudullah’s team will be fairly confident after the ODI series triumph.
Our pick: Bangladesh (-175)
Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Afif Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Naeem Islam.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Najibullah Zadran, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Fareed Malik, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Qais Ahmed.
After winning the three-match ODI series by a 2-1 margin, Bangladesh will now take on Afghanistan in a two-match T20I series.
The first match will be played at Mirpur’s Shere Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Thursday, 3rd March.
Though Bangladesh were always likely to win the ODI series on their home ground, the visitors did make things interesting for the neutrals by giving the Tigers a run for their money. The hosts won the first match by a narrow margin of four wickets with only seven deliveries to spare, whilst Afghanistan won the third ODI.
The second match was the only instance of Bangladesh’s uncontested domination.
Bangladesh last played a T20I series back in November, where things did not go according to plans as Pakistan whitewashed them in their own backyard. On the other hand, this will be Afghanistan’s first T20I series after the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup.
Compared to their squads for the other formats, Bangladesh’s T20I roster is quite young. Munim Shahriah, who set the Bangladesh Premier League 2022 stage on fire whilst playing for Fortune Barishal, has been included in the team.
However, it is expected that Mohammad Naim Sheikh and Liton Das will open the innings, with Afif Hossain and Mushfiqur Rahim comprising the top order. They are likely to play three pacers in Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam and Taskin Ahmed, with Shakib Al Hasan, Naeem Islam and Mahedi Hasan forming the spin contingent.
As for Afghanistan, spin has always been their forte and on what is expected to be a turning track here at Mirpur, they do have significant chances of winning, despite the ground being the Tigers’ den.
They are likely to field three world-class spinners in Rashid Khan, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, and Qais Ahmed, but are comparatively much weaker in the pace department. Karim Janat, Fazalhaq Farooqi, and Fareed Malik are likely to be their three pace options.
Amid unending questions regarding his availability for the upcoming series against South Africa, veteran all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is producing match-defining performances on a consistent basis.
In the three ODIs, he scored 80 runs and picked up five wickets as well. The 34-year-old from Jessore has played 94 T20I matches for his nation, in which he has scored 1894 runs at an average of 22.81 and a strike rate of over 120. What makes his numbers truly exceptional is his wickets tally, which is currently at 117 in this format. Shakib has a T20I average of 19.79 and an economy rate of 6.66 runs per over.
Despite being at the opposite ends of the age spectrum, Shakib has a lot in common with Rashid Khan, as they both have been the flag-bearers of their national team on the international stage. Rashid picked up five wickets in the ODI series, which includes a three-wicket haul, while he also has scored 29 runs.
As for his T20I numbers, the 23-year-old has picked up 103 wickets in only 56 matches at an economy rate of 6.20 runs per over and an even more impressive average of 12.70. Besides that, the Nangarhar lad has also scored 182 T20I runs, which includes a highest score of 33.
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|Bangladesh vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I – Information|
|Teams||Bangladesh vs Afghanistan|
|Location||Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka|
|Time||Thursday, 3rd March, 2:30 PM IST/9 AM GMT|
|How to watch||FanCode (India), Rabbitholebd Sports (Bangladesh), Willow TV (USA & Canada), Spark Sport (New Zealand)|
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