Mortaza's men will aim to improve record against the World Cup semi-finalist as teams begin build-up to ICC World T20
After making the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 quarter-final, Bangladesh has been steadily improving, pocketing historic wins against Pakistan and India in the recent One-Day International series at home. Led by Mashrafe Mortaza, it will have another opportunity to keep up the impressive run.
Tamim Iqbal, who found some fantastic form against Pakistan, struggled somewhat in the ODIs against India. But if he can replicate his recent form, especially against South Africa's young bowlers, he will be a handful.
Sohag Gazi, the off-spinner, will be making his first international appearance after his bowling action was cleared by the International Cricket Council in February. Gazi, whose last international assignment was against West Indies in August last year, is one of five spinners in the Bangladesh squad.
The in-form Mustafizur Rahman, who took 13 wickets in the three ODIs against India, will be central to Bangladesh’s pace attack. His recent success has Bangladesh changing focus from spin to pace.
For South Africa, while the batting line-up is packed with big names like AB de Villiers, David Miller, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy, the bowling attack is relatively new. In the absence of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Imran Tahir, who have been rested, it is an opportunity for the other bowlers to showcase their capability at the highest level. Wayne Parnell, with 33 T20I caps, is the most experienced frontline bowler in a line-up that includes Kyle Abbot, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, David Wiese and Chris Morris.
If the warm-up game on Friday is anything to go by, South Africa's rookies are eager to prove themselves. Bangladesh Cricket Board XI was bowled out for just 99, with Wiese (3 for 13), Abbott (2 for 2) and Aaron Phangiso (2 for 19) doing the bulk of the damage.
The two T20Is are the start of Bangladesh and South Africa’s build-up to the ICC World Twenty20 2016. The tournament will be played in India, so this series against Bangladesh assumes importance.
Bangladesh has beaten South Africa only once – in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 – across all formats. But given its recent surge, the series could end up being a fascinating contest, provided the weather plays along.
South Africa will play three ODIs and two Tests as well during their month-long tour.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Eddie Leie, David Miller, Chris Morris, Wayne Pernell, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Roussouw, David Wiese.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Arafat Sunny, Jubair Hossain, Litton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Mustafizur Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Rony Talukdar, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Sohag Gazi.