Afghanistan and Bangladesh will face each other in a three-match T20I series, which will take place in Dehradun, India, beginning from June 3, 2018. Afghanistan vs Bangladesh T20I series will set in motion the regular relations between Afghanistan and the countries of the Indian subcontinent, as we know that Afghanistan are also scheduled to play their first-ever Test cricket match against India in June as well. The Bangladesh vs Afghanistan T20I series will be an intense one, as while Bangladesh are ranked 10th in the ICC T20I rankings with 75 points in 21 matches, Afghanistan are ranked 8th, with 87 points in 22 matches.
To overcome the deficit of 12 points, Bangladesh would look to outplay Afghanistan, and while there are skilled batsmen in the team who are capable to do so, Afghanistan have a pool of unearthed and highly talented cricketers, the foremost examples of which are Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman a.k.a Mujeeb Zadran, who have impressed recently in the Indian Premier League as well. In this article, we will take a look at 5 players who are to be watched out for, when the Bangladesh vs Afghanistan T20I series kicks off.
5 players to watch out for, in Afghanistan vs Bangladesh T20I series, starting on June 3, 2018:
1. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
The captain of the Bangladesh cricket captain, Shakib Al Hasan is one of the best cricketing names that have been produced by Bangladesh. A star all-rounder, Shakib is well versed with the winning ways with, both, the ball and the bat. The 31-year-old also has immense experiences to learn from, as he has been a globetrotting T20 player in recent years. Currently, Shakib Al Hasan is ranked 3rd in the ICC T20I All-rounder rankings with 287 points, just 5 points behind Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi.
As a bowler, he is dangerously accurate and consistent, with his batting being powered by aggression and a wide range of stroke plays. Moreover, Shakib’s temperament doesn’t let him get flustered when all is on the line and he is ever ready to battle against the top-flight teams. Having played for more than a couple years in the Indian Premier League, earlier with KKR and recently with SRH which went to IPL 2018 finals, Shakib is rated as one of the best all-rounders in the world, and forms a vital cog in the team’s middle-order, contributing significantly in all departments. Definitely one to watch out for, in the Bangladesh vs Afghanistan T20I series.
2. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
The 19-year-old doesn’t need an introduction, really, but we’ll still have a go at it. Described by Sachin Tendulkar as the best T20I bowler, otherwise popular as the ‘Afghanistan mystery spinner’, Rashid Khan is the mark of the rise of an era in Afghanistan cricket. He has also broken quite a few cricketing records recently too, and having been the youngest captain of a cricket team, and joint-youngest to top the ICC rankings (T20I bowler) are two of the finest example of it.
Making his national T20I debut in 2015, Rashid Khan registered 47 wickets in 29 matches, which included a five-wicket haul that he took against Ireland giving just 3 runs. A prized asset in the cash-rich Indian Premier League, Rashid Khan was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 9 crore, which he justified by doing his reputation one better and also performing with the bat in the most crucial of situations.
In the 17 matches that he played for SRH in IPL 2018, Rashid Khan took 21 wickets with his best bowling figures reading – 3/19. In the batting department, he scored 59 runs in total, facing 39 balls, with a strike rate of 190.32, which included 3 fours and 6 sixes. Rashid Khan is going to be a nightmare for Bangladesh batsmen, and hence he needs to be watched out for in the Afghanistan vs Bangladesh T20I series.
3. Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)
Making his T20I debut in 2010 against Ireland, in which he took 1 wicket and wasn’t so impressive with the bat, Mohammad Nabi emerged to be one of the most vital cogs of the Afghanistan cricketing wheel, playing a role of an excellent all-rounder. Nabi has scored 931 runs in the 54 innings that he has played so far for the country, and has claimed 61 wickets in 59 matches with his best bowling figures in a match reading – 10/4.
Owing to his match-winning performances, Mohammad Nabi was picked up in the Indian Premier League by Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2017, becoming the first Afghan player to be bought by the franchise, and was again bagged by the same team for INR 8 crore in the 2018 edition of the IPL which was wrapped up recently, with SRH finishing up as runners-up. Nabi will be one of the more experienced Afghan cricketers, and is to be watched out for, in the Afghanistan vs Bangladesh T20I series, beginning on June 3, 2018.
4. Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh)
When we speak about great subcontinental opening batsmen, names like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Sanath Jayasuriya come to mind, as they have destroyed a great many bowling attacks over the years. However, a new name sprouted up from Bangladesh, called Tamim Iqbal, that was to go down in history as one of the most decimating opening batters in modern cricket.
The 29-year-old holds the records for the highest score by a Bangladeshi batsman, which he set when he scored 154 against Zimbabwe not too long ago. Playing 65 T20Is for Bangladesh, Tamim Iqbal has scored 1,440 runs with a strike rate of 117+, including a century, five 50s, and a high score of 103. We’re counting him in as one of the few in the Bangladesh cricket team who can take on the mystery spinners of Afghanistan.
5. Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)
The other mystery-spinner from the war-torn land, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who is, however, hailing from a privileged background, is another success story in Afghanistan cricket. Also known as Mujeeb Zadran, the 17-year-old had grown up watching videos of Sunil Narine and Mendis, and reflects the greatness of a star who is in the making.
Having made his debut in 2018, Mujeeb has a lot on the line to prove, and in the only 2 matches that he has played for Afghanistan so far, he has taken 2 wickets. He already had his admirers looking for him over international borders when he was bagged by Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2018 for INR 4 crore. And playing in 11 matches for KXIP, Zadran claimed 14 wickets, some of which belonged to the most esteemed of batsmen in modern cricket.
The 17-year-old also has a decent economy rate to boast off, and while he has already claimed a five-for in ODI for Afghanistan, he is being expected to display similar cricket in Bangladesh vs Afghanistan T20I series.
Afghanistan vs Bangladesh T20I Squads
Bangladesh Squad: Shakib Al Hasan(c), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Nazmul Islam, Abu Hider Rony, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed
Afghanistan Squad: Asghar Stanikzai(c), Mohammad Shahzad, Najeeb Tarakai, Usman Ghani, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Darwish Rasooli, Karim Janat, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Shapoor Zadran, Aftab Alam