Bangladesh and Afghanistan are set to play a three-match ODI series, with the first game set to be played at Shere Bangla National Stadium on Sunday.
Bangladesh are always a strong team at home, irrespective of the team they play, and when they are set up against Afghanistan, the home team will be considered as favourites. But, Bangladesh cannot afford to take this series lightly, as Afghanistan are a team on the rise.
What makes the contest even more interesting is the presence of some quality players in both the camps. If Bangladesh have Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Afghanistan, in reply, have players like Asghar Stanikzai, , Mohammad Nabi and Dawlat Zadran.
Bangladesh have been away from ODI cricket for some time, so they do not have much match practice in the format. They last played an ODI series against Zimbabwe in November 2015, hence this match against Afghanistan will be an important one, though the nation participated in the T20 earlier in the year, including the Asia Cup and World T20.
"Not playing for a long time is a bit of an Achilles's heel for us. That is what we are trying to get over that uncertainty. The first match is vital for us. We have no concern over any skill part – batting, bowling or fielding. It is all about the mental side of the game – getting into the game, playing in front of a crowd for your country," ICC's official website quoted Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusinghe as saying.
But, there are no such problems for Afghanistan as they come into the series after having some good cricket against Scotland and Ireland in the ODI format. They defeated Scotland, and drew 2-2 in the best-of-five series against Ireland.
They have always been a strong batting team, and with players like Shahzad and Stanikzai in their ranks, Afghanistan will look to start the ODI series against Bangladesh with a bang. It could be a great contest between the Afghanistan batsmen and Bangladesh bowlers in the first ODI.
Make no mistake, Afghanistan also have good bowlers like Mohammad Nabi and Dawlat Zadran, who can make life difficult for Bangladesh batsmen. All in all, team, which comes up with an all-round display will have greater chance of taking 1-0 lead in the series.
Watch Bangladesh vs Afghanistan live
Bangladesh vs Afghanistan 1st ODI is scheduled for 2:30 pm local time (2 p.m IST, 1 pm Afghanistan). Live TV and streaming options can be found below. Unfortunately, there is no live TV coverage in India.
Bangladesh: TV: Gazi TV. Live Streaming: Gazi TV Online
US: TV: Willow Tv. Live streaming: Willow Online