The hosts have their senior group back, while BPL experience should stand the visitors in good stead
Afghanistan, who have played only a single bilateral ODI series this year – against Netherlands, with the previous one coming in January 2021 against Ireland – have their task cut out. But they have a reputation in Bangladesh – especially after their breakthrough win against the home side in the 2014 Asia Cup, they are regarded as dangerous opponents in these shores. They played a three-match ODI series in Bangladesh in late 2016 too, but lost 2-1.
Cricketers from Afghanistan are regulars in the BPL. During this season’s tournament, the Minister Group Dhaka team selected only Afghan players as their overseas picks.
(Last five completed matches; most recent first)
In the spotlight
Afghanistan will hope that Rahmanullah Gurbaz, their hottest new T20 property, comes good at the top of the order. Gurbaz made a century against Netherlands in their last ODI series, and has been scoring heavily in the PSL. He has some experience of playing in Bangladesh, having played in the 2019-20 BPL.
There is a lot of hope around Mahmudul Hasan Joy, and even Tamim Iqbal has backed the young man to be the next big thing, in both in the top and the middle-order. Mahmudul, who broke through with his 78 against New Zealand in the Mount Maunganui Test in January, is likely to bat at five or six in the ODIs. He has shown a bit of white-ball promise in the BPL too, so managing expectations could be one of his first tasks.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Litton Das, 2 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mahmudul Hasan Joy/Yasir Ali, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Afif Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Shoriful Islam, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Afghanistan (probable): 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 2 Riaz Hassan, 3 Rahmat Shah, 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), 5 Najibullah Zadran, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 9 Yamin Ahmadzai, 10 Fareed Ahmad, 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi
Pitch and conditions
The 11am start time suggests that the Bangladesh team management didn’t want to take a chance with the famed dew at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram. The average first-innings score in the last five ODIs at this venue is 254. The weather should mostly be dry.
Stats and trivia
“We have always done well against them (Afghanistan) in ODIs. There’s no doubt that they are a good side. They have a good bowling attack, but we have done well against them. Those who will play tomorrow, everyone is in good form.”
Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal, when asked about Afghanistan’s bowling quality
“To be honest, we think about the whole team. We plan for everyone (in the Bangladesh team). We know their strength and weak points. We are working on it. (But I mainly) care about our strengths, our boys, my team. We have a good team here. I have confidence in all our departments.”
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi speaks about going up against Bangladesh’s experienced players
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84