A high-octane clash awaits in Sharjah as Bangladesh and Afghanistan lock horns with one another in their first encounter of Asia Cup 2022 on August 30, Tuesday. This will also be the second match of Group B and the third match of the tournament overall.
T20i History Between Afghanistan and Bangladesh
Bangladesh and Afghanistan have met each other in eight T20I matches overall, with the former winning only thrice and the latter acing five contests.
The first ever T20I encounter between the two sides was during the 2014 T20 World Cup in Mirpur. The Bangla Tigers won that match by nine wickets after bowling Afghanistan out for a paltry total of 72.
The most recent contest between the two sides was also in Mirpur when they met each other earlier this year. Afghanistan chased down a target of 116 with eight wickets remaining and won the match comfortably.
As far as the recent form of the two sides goes, things don’t look that great for Bangladesh. They have played 11 T20Is since the T20 World Cup last year and have won only two matches out of that while losing eight times, with another match yielding no result at all.
The figures for Afghanistan read much better, though. In the 10 matches the Afghans have played during the same period, they have won six games while losing only four.
How Do the Teams Stack Up?
As far as batting strength is considered, the two teams are almost on par with each other. But the natural aggressive approach of the Afghanistan batters is much more suited to this format. Bangladesh lack firepower in that aspect and will have to depend a lot on their experienced players like Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah.
In terms of bowling, Afghanistan have two of the world’s best spinners in Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan. Bangladesh’s spin attack looks quite average but their death bowling unit looks very strong as pacers like Mustafizur Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin are very experienced in this phase.
Predicted Playing XI
Parvez Hossain Emon, Anamul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan (C), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman
Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz(wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Hasmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (C), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladeshi captain, holds the key for the Tigers. Shakib is one of the best all-rounders in the world and he has a terrific record in this format. He has played 99 T20Is for Bangladesh and has amassed 2010 runs, including 10 fifties. With the ball, he has picked up 121 wickets at 19.95 runs a piece.
Afghanistan: Rashid Khan, who is considered the best spinner in the T20 format right now, is going to be Afghanistan’s key player in this match. Rashid has many variations in his repertoire and hence he has the ability to build a trap around the Bangladeshi batters. He has 112 wickets to his name in 66 T20Is for Afghanistan, at a brilliant average of 13.80. Rashid is also a very handy lower-order batter as he has the ability to hit the ball a long distance in the death overs.
Afghanistan have a very potent batting attack and they have one of the strongest spin bowling attacks in the tournament as well. They also look well balanced as a team whereas Bangladesh will rely heavily on their star players to win this match. So, Afghanistan look like the favourites to win this contest.