It's not too often that Bangladesh go into a match at the top level as heavy favourites. But come Saturday, the hosts of the Asia Cup 2014 will be expected to pick up their first victory of the tournament when they take on rookies Afghanistan in Fatullah.
Neither team began the continental tournament with a win, with Bangladesh outclassed by India, and Afghanistan running into a brick wall against Pakistan.
"There is always going to be expectation," Bangladesh coach Shane Jurgensen said. "We are playing here in our own country, we are going to have the higher expectation and we have to deal with it. There was a lot of expectation in the Sri Lanka series [which Bangladesh lost 3-0] and we have to deal with it now.
"We will definitely be respecting Afghanistan. They are an improving cricket team. They are not a young team as well, but with some experienced players who have played quite a bit of cricket. It is going to be a very competitive game. I am quite excited to see these young teams face off against each other."
There were signs of encouragement for the losing team in both of those matches, and if they can improve on certain other aspects then a first win could just be around the corner.
"Hopefully we will have a good result," Bangladesh coach Shane Jurgensen said. "I would like to think that we will win. What is really important is to get our basic rights. For me that's the most important thing for me. It doesn't matter who the opposition is."
For Bangladesh, the spin of Abdur Razzak will be crucial - the left-armer troubled the Indian batsmen at the beginning, and with the quality of batsmen set to be lesser for the second match, Razzak should be more effective and have a higher number in the wickets column.
The hosts, however, have been landed another big blow in the mould of Mashrafe Mortaza, who has been ruled out of the Asia Cup with a side strain.
"Mortaza had picked up a side strain during the match against India on February 26," Bangladesh physio Vaibhav Singh revealed. "The scan report suggests it is a strain on the left side.
"Unfortunately he is out of this tournament. He will carry on doing the rehab under the guidance of the BCB medical team and we will assess him further in the coming days."
With Shakib Al Hasan suspended for this match as well, and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, who scored an impressive century against India, a doubt with a shoulder injury, Bangladesh's playing resources will be tested to the limit.
"We have a few unfortunate injuries so all I have asked the players is to step up for their country," Jurgensen added. "We have had one-day success in the last 18 months and that was because everyone stepped up.
"I have asked nothing more than that. All we can look forward to do is to continue improve. Last game [against India] was an improved performance."
Afghanistan put up a quite impressive performance with the ball against Pakistan, and had it not been for an outstanding innings from Umar Akmal, they might well have restricted their more illustrious opponents to a score less than 200.
A similar performance on the field will be expected again, and if the batsmen can back their bowlers up, then Bangladesh will have to be at their absolute best to come away with a victory.
Asia Cup 2014: Bangladesh vs Afghanistan Live TV information (Match starts 1.30 pm local time, 2 pm IST, 3.30 am ET, 8.30 am GMT)
|India||Star Sports 1,Star Sports 3 and
Star Sports HD1
|Canada||CBN andATN Cricket Plus|
|United Kingdom||Star Life OK|
|Bangladesh||Channel 9 andStar Life OK|
|Sri Lanka||MTV Sports|
Asia Cup 2014: Bangladesh vs Afghanistan Live Streaming information (Match starts 1.30 pm local time, 2 pm IST, 3.30 am ET, 8.30 am GMT)
|Pakistan||PTV &Geo Super Live|
|Sri Lanka||MTV Sports|
|Australia||Setanta Sports Plus|
Team news: Bangladesh: Mushfiqur's availability will be a last-minute call, with Imrul Kayes set to step in if the captain fails to make it. Shafiul Islam is expected to replace the injured Mashrafe Mortaza.
Afghanistan: Hamid Hassan is expected to be named in the playing XI, and it remains to be seen who will sit out, with Mirwais Ashraf looking like the likely candidate.
Expected lineups: Bangladesh: Anamul Haque, Shamsur Rahman, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Naeem Islam, Nasir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Sohag Gazi, Shafiul Islam, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Asghar Stanikzai, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Hamza Hotak, Daulat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran.