Cricket News

Afghanistan v Bangladesh T20I Series Preview

After a thrilling IPL 2018 tournament, India will play host to an Afghanistan v Bangladesh series. India’s bond with Afghanistan is quite strong, with Afghanistan’s first ever Test to be against India, in addition to the nation falling more in love with Rashid Khan.

Afghanistan and Bangladesh have only ever played one T20I against each other. This series is an important one for both sides for different reasons. Afghanistan will be looking to continue their international rise against Test opposition, and Bangladesh need to keep their momentum going after a promising Nidahas Trophy campaign.

Key to an Afghanistan win

Afghanistan certainly have it in them to win this series. They have troubled Bangladesh in ODI cricket in the past, and will be looking to transfer this over to the T20I format.

Rashid Khan, their international superstar, will be key to their chances. Bangladesh, including Mushfiqur Rahim, can be suspect against quality legspin bowling, so Rashid will have a key role to play. Their experienced players, including Mohammad Shahzad and Asghar Stanikzai, will also be key in putting the pressure on the Bangladeshis.

Afghanistan have the quality with the ball to restrict Bangladesh. They also have the talent within their batting ranks to pressure Bangladesh, who are without Mustafiazur Rahman. A great opportunity awaits.

Key to a Bangladesh win

Bangladesh have picked a squad based on potential, but have beaten Afghanistan resoundingly before. The likes of Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman continue to be inconsistent, so how they support the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan will be key.

Also, how will the Tigers cope with the loss of Mustafizur Rahman to injury? The bowling attack represents a lot of unproven talent in T20Is, so the key will be to put in collaborative bowling performances. Can the likes Mehedi and Shakib Al Hasan choke the Afghanistan scoring rate? What contribution can the seamers make? How well will they execute in the key powerplay and death overs?

Key players

Afghanistan:

Rashid Khan is key for Afghanistan. His T20 record is astounding, notching up 158 wickets in 109 matches, with an incredible economy rate of 6.01. He burst onto the international scene against in ODIs against Bangladesh in 2016, and gave them a very tough time in Dhaka.

Another key player is Mohammad Shahzad. He can take the game away from Bangladesh in the powerplay, providing a great launch pad for the middle order. His strike rate of 136.23 in 60 T20Is, with an average of over 31, shows he has what it takes to deliver the goods in this series.

Bangladesh:

Shakib Al Hasan is obviously a key player for Bangladesh, as always. A consistent performer for a decade, Shakib has single handedly won matches for his country, and in a tricky series, he must deliver. You can back Shakib to be economical with the ball, but can he get big wickets and score big runs? He is very capable.

Tamim Iqbal at the top is another key player. His T20I record is a little underwhelming, given his attacking nature, striking at just 116. Can he win the battle against someone like Mohammad Shahzad? Can he be the foil for the other players to play well around him? If Tamim fails, Bangladesh are a big chance of failing, too.

Prediction:

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This promises to be an exciting series, as both teams have a good chance of winning. I predict that it will be a 2-1 result, as neither side is good or bad enough to see a series sweep.

The team I’m leaning towards? Afghanistan.

Good luck to both teams!

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