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Bangladesh and Afghanistan compete to keep winning record

Ban v Afg, 3rd match, T20I tri-series, preview

Afghanistan and Bangladesh are both looking to build on opening victories over Zimbabwe, as the two sides meet in their first encounter of the ongoing tri-series.

Overview

Bangladesh v Afghanistan, 3rd match, T20I tri-series
Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur
Sunday, 15 September; 06:30pm local, 12:30pm GMT

Bangladesh snuck home in a last-over thriller in the opening game of the series and will be hoping for a stronger display when they meet Afghanistan. Meanwhile, their opponents will be buoyed by the convincing manner of their victory in the previous game, though they will not be resting on their laurels against a team they have had some tight tussles with in the past.

The visitors will be hoping for another strong performance from their batsmen, who cumulatively hit 15 sixes against Zimbabwe, including seven in a row between Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi. They will also hope 17-year-old wicket-keeper batsman Rahmatullah Gurbaz can produce some more fireworks, as he did at the top of the innings in that game.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, will no doubt be demanding more from their established top six, who left them in trouble at 60/6 in their previous game, until Mosaddek Hossain and Afif Hossain combined for an 82-run partnership. But they will be enthused, having come out of that game with a win, thanks largely to the contributions of those two. They will also be looking towards captain and talisman Shakib Al Hasan to bounce back from a disappointing game against Zimbabwe, in which he conceded 49 runs from his four overs and scored only a solitary run.

Remember the last time

The last time these two sides met in T20Is was for a three-match series played in June last year, at Afghanistan's home away from home, Dehradun. While Afghanistan comfortably won the first two games, with Rashid Khan playing a key role in both matches, the third game went right to the wire. Only a fantastic piece of fielding by Shafiqullah off the final ball stopped Bangladesh from pulling off an improbable victory, and Afghanistan took the match by one run as they sealed a series whitewash. In the end, an all-round performance from Afghanistan trumped the superb individual performances of Mushfiqur Rahim (46) and Mahmudullah (45).

What they said

Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh captain: "With the team going through a tough time this kind of a win will give a lot more confidence than just an easy win. We hope to carry the momentum to the next game against another difficult opponent."

Rashid Khan, Afghanistan captain: "I think that's the beauty of Afghanistan cricketers – that they can adjust very quickly as per the format. It's actually more of a mind thing than physical."

Conditions

The forecast looks good, with no rain forecast. Both teams will be familiar with conditions, having already played at the ground, with spin likely to play a key role and seamers looking to take pace off the ball when possible. Afghanistan bucked the trend of bowling first in Mirpur, but you would still expect the captain winning the toss to chase, given recent results at the ground – eight of the last 11 games have been won by the side batting second.

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