With the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh getting underway on Sunday (March 16), here a look at key battles, approaching milestones and a few facts from the Bangladesh and Afghanistan clash.
Bangladesh and Afghanistan have never previously met in a Twenty20 match.
The host nation of the previous ICC World Twenty20 tournaments has won their opening fixture thrice (South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka). England lost the curtain-raiser in 2009.
Bangladesh has lost four if its last five T20s.
Afghanistan has won 11 and lost 11 of their 22 T20Is. It has lost four of its last six T20s.
Mushfiqur Rahim has scored 101 runs at an average of 50.5 in three T20I innings at the Sher-e Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Bangladesh v Afghanistan – Shakib Al Hasan vs. Samiullah Shenwari
Shakib Al Hasan is Bangladesh’s outstanding performer in all formats, but it is in Twenty20 cricket that his explosive stroke-play and canny left-arm spin dominates games most. Only Anamul Haque has a higher strike rate amongst Bangladesh’s current top order than Shakib’s 127.8 and his bowling average of 19.1 and economy rate of 6.7 puts him in the top bracket of slow bowlers.
Samiullah Shenwari has an even better economy rate (5.9) and it will be the leg-spinner’s prime job to keep Shakib quiet. He is also handy with the bat, having recently hit a half-century against India in a One Day International.
Mohammad Nabi will become the second player to captain Afghanistan in 10 T20I matches.
Rahim needs two dismissals to become the sixth wicket-keeper to take 30 T20I dismissals.
A defeat for Bangladesh would make Rahim the captain with most T20I defeats for Bangladesh. He and Mohammad Ashraful have both lost nine matches in charge.