Who: Afghanistan vs Bangladesh
Where: HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala, India
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When: Saturday, October 7, 10:30am (05:00 GMT)
A month after Bangladesh beat Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, the two South Asian teams will face off for their opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 at the picturesque HPCA stadium in Dharamsala.
It will be Afghanistan’s third appearance at ICC Cricket World Cup since their debut in 2015 when they were dubbed the rising stars of the game. They have now built a reputation as world-beaters and boast one of the world’s biggest stars in leg-spinning all-rounder Rashid Khan.
Khan will be ably supported in the spin department by former captain Mohammad Nabi and young off-spinner Mujib Ur Rahman as the team look to make it past the group stage for the first time.
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi has said his team is “totally ready” for their third Cricket World Cup.
“We have had meetings, we prepared ourselves and we know them [Bangladesh] very well, so we will play accordingly and we will try our best as a team to bounce back in this game against them.”
Meanwhile, their opponents Bangladesh will be looking to move past the pre-tournament controversies that stemmed from the squad selection and get a win on the board.
The only previous occasion when captain Shakib al-Hasan’s side made it to the quarterfinals was at the 2015 edition in Australia and New Zealand.
Their Sri Lankan coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said he will settle for nothing less than a semifinal finish this time as they play in close-to-home conditions in India.
“Yeah, we all want to win the World Cup … if we win four-five games, we give ourselves a chance to get to the semifinal – that is our first aim,” Hathurusingha said.
Bangladesh will miss the services of their leading ODI batter Tamim Iqbal, who continues to grapple with back issues.
However, upcoming batter Towhid Hridoy, who has been marked as one of the future, and Tanzid Hasan Tamim of Bangladesh’s Under-19 World Cup-winning team will look to make the most of the opportunity.
Head to head
Bangladesh and Afghanistan played 15 ODIs, of which Bangladesh have won nine and Afghanistan six.
Both of their meetings in the ICC Cricket World Cup (in 2015 and 2019) have gone Bangladesh’s way.
Despite holding the upper hand against Saturday’s opponents, Bangladesh have had their fair share of losses in recent ODIs.
Afghanistan have suffered a string of defeats in the recently-concluded Asia Cup despite boasting a talented line-up.
Afghanistan: L L L L L
Bangladesh: L L W L L
Bangladesh: Litton Das, Tanzid Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicketkeeper), Shakib al-Hasan (captain), Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Tanzim Hasan Sakib
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicketkeeper), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen ul Haq
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies