Attacking flair, and an aggressive attitude – Bangladesh’s T20I game is missing both.
They come into the Asia Cup on a low, having lost both white-ball series in Zimbabwe earlier this month. They gave away strong positions in both the T20I losses as they went down 2-1.
Perhaps being underdogs will help Bangladesh against high-flying Afghanistan.
Last five completed matches; most recent first
In the spotlight
Fazalhaq Farooqi was one of Afghanistan’s heroes in the match against Sri Lanka. His opening burst blew away the top order, and he finished with 3 for 11, the sort of spell Bangladesh are familiar with from earlier this year – Farooqi was fast, accurate and effective in the ODI and T20I series in Chattogram and Dhaka. His confidence must be soaring after the Sri Lanka demolition job.
Shakib Al Hasan is Bangladesh’s best bet against Afghanistan, or anyone else, for that matter. Returning as the T20I captain after nearly three years, Shakib has a lot on his plate but he is known as someone who invariably manages to bring the best out of himself when under pressure. His four overs will bring back an attacking option for Bangladesh, while his free stroke play will help the misfiring top order.
Afghanistan have little reason to change the playing XI, and, bar injuries, should be unchanged.
Afghanistan (probable): 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Ibrahim Zadran, 4 Najibullah Zadran, 5 Karim Janat, 6 Mohammad Nabi (capt), 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Azmatullah Omarzai, 9 Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi
Bangladesh have a few more options than when they went to Zimbabwe with a limited squad. Shakib, Mushfiqur and Saifuddin should all get in, and will add balance to their line-up.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Anamul Haque, 3 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 4 Afif Hossain, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Mahedi Hasan, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Nasum Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Pitch and conditions
Despite the small dimensions, Sharjah has a surprisingly low batting average – 143 – for sides batting first in T20Is in the last 12 months. The weather will be quite hot even though it’s a 6pm [local time] start.
Stats and trivia
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84