Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza won the toss and elected to bat first against World Cup debutants Afghanistan in their Pool A opener at Manuka Oval in Canberra on Wednesday.
Mortaza’s side lost both of their warm-up matches and will be looking to take a confidence boost from this encounter with the inexperienced Afghans, the first team to debut at the World Cup since 2007.
“Looks like a good track. We can put up a good total,” Mortaza said.
The Afghans won the only previous meeting between the two sides at the Asia Cup last year but Bangladesh were without key all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and top batsman Tamim Iqbal for the match at Fatullah.
The conditions should also be very different from the spin-friendly surface they played on then and Afghanistan will be hoping there is enough pace and bounce to allow fast bowler Hamid Hassan to be a major factor.
“We have put three fast bowlers in the side, hopefully the ball will reverse after 25 overs and I hope we’ll be chasing a low total,” Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi said.
Regardless of the result in the Australian capital on Wednesday, just participating in the tournament is a major achievement for Afghanistan, where cricket was virtually unknown when Bangladesh became a test-playing nation in 2000.
Bangladesh – Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain
Afghanistan – Mohammad Nabi (captain), Afsar Zazai, Javed Ahmadi, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Aftab Alam, Shapoor Zadran, Hamid Hassan