Preview: Bangladesh will play host to Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in the upcoming T20I series that is set to commence from September 13. Initially, it was set to be a bilateral tournament between the hosts and Afghanistan, following their standalone Test match but as per a request by the Zimbabwe Cricket Board, they were included in the series, making it a triangular tournament.
Tri-series format: All three teams will feature four times in the league stages, facing each other twice with the top two teams on the points table squaring in the final, which will be held on the 24th of September. After their defeat in the Test against Afghanistan, Bangladesh will aim to achieve redemption and give a good account of themselves in these T20 games.
Zimbabwe aim to maximise limited opportunities after suspension: This will be the African nation’s first international appearance since they were suspended by the ICC in July. In accordance with the suspension, no Zimbabwean teams are allowed to take part in any ICC event. However, they can still participate in bilateral or trilateral series, which should offer some relief to the fans given the abominable nature of the predicament.
This will be the final series for captain and veteran player, Hamilton Masakzada, who will be retiring from international cricket at the end of the tour. Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, and Brandon Taylor are important members of the team and the trio will need to score the bulk of the runs for their side. Sikander Raza will be missing from the squad as the influential all-rounder has been dropped due to disciplinary reasons.
Bangladesh look ahead to the T20 World Cup: With the T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in October 2020, this tournament offers the Bangladesh management a chance to tinker with the line-ups and experiment with different combinations and plans. There is a fine balance of experienced personnel and exuberant untried youngsters in the squad that has been announced for the opening two games.
Superstar all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will lead the side and will try to make amends for the embarrassing loss against the Afghans. The experienced presence of Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Soumya Sarkar will prove to be crucial and the onus will lie on the trio to guide the new faces in the side.
After a number of underwhelming performances in recent times, Mehidy Hasan has been dropped from the squad. Meanwhile, Mahedi Hasan, Atif Hossain and Yeasin Arafat are exciting young names that could make an appearance in the series.
A chance to carry on from historic Test win for Afghanistan: Following a disappointing World Cup campaign muddled with controversy, confusion, and chaos, a historic Test victory against the Tigers has again raised hopes of a brighter cricketing future for Afghanistan. Leader and marquee player Rashid Khan was central to the victory and exceptional in his first assignment as Test captain. He coped well with the insurmountable pressure that arrives with captaincy and reveled in the role rather than crumbling under the burden that the job brings. Similar displays would be expected from him when he leads his troops in the T20I series.
Plenty of familiar faces will be in action in their first game against Zimbabwe on September 14. Mujeeb Ur Rahman is selected in the squad after failing to make the cut into the Test team. The off-spinner is a specialist in the shortest format of the game and his versatility with the bowl is a handy weapon to possess.
Mohammed Shahzad’s lengthy suspension means he won’t be part of the team and will be replaced by Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who could take over the wicket-keeping duties. Also, Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Afghan will hold fort in the middle-order and are key figures in the team.