Bangladesh weakened for must-win game
March 1, 2014
Start time 1400 local (0800 GMT)
Does Afghanistan make Bangladesh nervous? Like higher-ranked teams are wary of the banana peel when they play Bangladesh, the hosts will also be cautious of an opponent that has little to lose. That said, it is also Bangladesh's best chance to win their first game in 2014.
Mushfiqur Rahim's team has had a horrible start to the year. They lost seven games across formats to Sri Lanka and then the Asia Cup opener to India. They will face Afghanistan without Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza, who are injured, and the banned Shakib Al Hasan. There are concerns over Mushfiqur too; the Bangladesh captain was taken to hospital for scans on his shoulder after the game against India.
Anamul Haque's form against India, though, was encouraging for Bangladesh but they will hope he can forge a strong opening stand with Shamsur Rahman after poor starts in the last four games. And whoever is in charge of the batting line-up must use Nasir Hossain and Naeem Islam properly.
Nasir has scored 69 runs in his last four innings - his first poor patch in international cricket - and Shakib's replacement Naeem batted at the wrong time - the batting Powerplay - for his sort of game.
In Mashrafe's absence, Abdur Razzak will need to play a central role the bowling attack, while the rest focus on economical ten-over spells. The fielding has also been shoddy of late and needs improvement.
Afghanistan have their own concerns after the game against Pakistan, though they performed creditably. Their batting fell away after the second-wicket partnership between Noor Ali Zadran and Asghar Stanikzai. That stand was a bit slow and pushed up the asking rate but such struggles are par for the course when an Associate takes on a Full Member. The captain Mohammad Nabi will be a threat, and Bangladesh's bowlers have seen him attack during the Dhaka Premier League.
Form guide(Completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for
Anamul Haque showed against India that he can bat with maturity. He attacked Varun Aaron, having found the fast bowler to his liking, and while he was quieter against the rest of the attack, he didn't look out of his depth. Bangladesh will hope for a follow-up performance, something Anamul hasn't been able to do for a while.
Noor Ali Zadran was Afghanistan's top-scorer against Pakistan, and played some good back-foot shots through the off side against the fast bowlers during his 44. He needs to play better against spin though.
Bangladesh will wait on Mushfiqur's shoulder to improve and take a last minute call on him. If he fails to recover in time, Imrul Kayes is the only available choice. Mashrafe's injury means a game for his replacement Shafiul Islam.
Bangladesh (likely): 1 Anamul Haque (wk), 2 Shamsur Rahman, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Imrul Kayes/Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), 5 Naeem Islam, 6 Nasir Hossain, 7 Ziaur Rahman, 8 Sohag Gazi, 9 Shafiul Islam/Al-Amin Hossain, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Rubel Hossain
Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan said Hamid Hassan will play, possibly in place of Mirwais Ashraf, their most accurate bowler in the Pakistan game.
Afghanistan (likely): 1 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 2 Noor Ali Zadran, 3 Asghar Stanikzai, 4 Nawroz Mangal, 5 Mohammad Nabi (capt), 6 Samiullah Shenwari, 7 Najibullah Zadran, 8 Hamid Hassan/Mirwais Ashraf, 9 Hamza Hotak, 10 Daulat Zadran, 11 Shapoor Zadran.
Pitch and conditions
Batting hasn't been easy in the afternoon and evening on a slow surface. There has been dew on some days in Fatullah, depending on overhead conditions during the day.
Stats and trivia
- Mushfiqur Rahim is the second Bangladesh captain to score an ODI century at home, after Shakib Al Hasan.
- Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari have played all 28 of Aghanistan's ODIs so far.
"We gave Hamid Hassan a break so that he is ready for the Bangladesh game."
Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here