Match Preview : Bangladesh Vs. Afghanistan
17 February 2015, Nirapad News: Bangladesh will face Afghanistan tomorrow at the Manuka Oval in Canberra for the first match of the ICC World Cup 2015. While the world cup has already got rolling with the hosts dominating and teams like Ireland and Zimbabwe impressing all and sundry, for most of the 160 million people of Bangladesh, the “real” world cup begins tomorrow.
Though Afghanistan are associates, there has been plenty of talk surrounding this match, and Afghanistan players feel that they have a chance against a Bangladesh team who haven’t played an international match for the last 77 days. The Tigers have lost four of four in the practice matches in Australia, so their opponents might feel that it is the right time to attack.
On the other hand, Bangladesh player Mahmudullah has said that the Tigers are capable of beating any team, and fans of both countries feel that they have an advantage over the other. All these factors make it a mouth watering clash.
It has to be accepted that the Afghans have been in Australia for a longer time, and they won a practice match against UAE after going down to India. Keeping all these in mind, the Tigers are sweating it out in the nets. The batsmen, in particular, are working really hard to get back to form, and their intent to perform is a factor which the fans will find heartening.
Pitch: Manuka Oval has some pace and bounce, but it has been generally batting friendly. Smaller than most other grounds in Australia, the 13500 capacity stadium will host its first World cup game this year.
Key players: It will be the battle of all rounders, as Shakib al Hasan will be the key player for Bangladesh. His left arm spin might be effective against Afghanistan, who tend to struggle against spinners. With quite a few right handed batsmen, Shakib will get the ball to turn away from the right hander. With the willow, Shakib will be one of the middle order stalwarts.
Samiullah Shenwari is a more than useful leg spinner and a handy batsman down the order. Scoring a brilliant 80 the last time these two sides met in an ODI, he will look to impress on the biggest stage, and the Tigers need to watch out for him. Leg spinners get a lot of help in Australia, so his bowling might pose problems, too, especially in the second innings.
1) These two sides only met once in ODI’S, at the Asia cup last year, and Afghanistan were the shock victors.
2) Shakib, Tamim and Mashrafe did not play in that match, so it will be their first ODI against Afghanistan.