The Tigers are returning to their favourite format as Bangladesh lock horns with Afghanistan in a three-match ODI series starting on Wednesday at Chattogram's Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
With Super League points at stake, the series is deemed as a battle between the Tigers’ experience and the Afghan spin attack.
The game will begin at 11 am Bangladesh Standard Time.
All eyes will be on the ‘fantastic four’ of Bangladesh - Shakib, Tamim, Mushfiq and Mahmudullah as they take on the ‘tricky three’ of the Afghans, Rashid, Nabi and Mujib.
"We have always done well against them (Afghanistan) in ODIs. There's no doubt that they are a good side. They have a good bowling attack, but we have done well against them. Those who will play tomorrow, everyone is in good form," Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal said at the pre-match press conference today (Tuesday).
Hometown hero and ODI captain Tamim Iqbal is the leading run-scorer for Bangladesh at ZACS with 561 runs.
He is followed by Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan with 404 and 294 runs respectively.
Ace-all rounder Shakib is also the highest wicket-taker for the tigers at the venue, bagging 30 wickets in 16 ODIs.
These stats prove how heavily the tigers would depend on their senior campaigners in the series.
With Mohammad Nabi back in the Afghanistan ODI squad, much will depend on how Bangladesh batters handle the 30 overs of Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Mujeeb will head into the series with the confidence of playing a crucial role in helping his BPL franchise Fortune Barishal to the final of the tournament.
Rashid Khan has also arrived in Bangladesh following a string of superlative performances at the Pakistan Super League.
For Bangladesh, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who currently stands 5th among bowlers in ICC ratings will partner up with Shakib Al Hasan in the spin department while Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman will spearhead the pace attack.
Afghanistan will rely on Rahmanullah Gurbaz to give them a flying start at the top. Gurbaz made a century against Netherlands in their last ODI series and has been scoring heavily in the PSL.
He has some experience of playing in Bangladesh, having played in the 2019-20 BPL. Besides, the side will depend on the likes of Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah and Najibullah to marshal the middle-order.
Bangladesh have lost just one bilateral series at home in eight years now, proving how unstoppable they are at home soil in this format.
Afghanistan played only a single bilateral ODI series this year - against Netherlands, with the previous one coming in January 2021 against Ireland.
However, they are always a dangerous opponent in the sub-continent, with their breakthrough win against Bangladesh in the 2014 Asia Cup in Dhaka.
They played a three-match ODI series in Bangladesh in late 2016 too but lost 2-1.
Yasir or Joy?
By the looks of things, either of Yasir Ali and Mahmudul Hasan Joy will make debut tomorrow at the vacant no 5 position in the middle order.
With Joy being a regular at the top order, mostly at no 3 and opening, it was believed that Yasir might finally make his much anticipated ODI debut at his home town.
However, ODI captain Tamim Iqbal hinted that the U-19 World Cup winner Joy might edge pass Yasir tomorrow.
“When he (Joy) was called up as an opener in Test, you guys (journalists) said he is a no 3 and middle-order batsman. But after the move came through, nobody said anything.”
“Now when we are considering Joy for the middle order at ODIs, you are now saying he is an opener. Look, both Joy and Yasir can play spin really well and I believe any one of them will fit right into the number 5 position,” Tamim Iqbal told reporters at a press conference today.
The youngster broke through with his 78 against New Zealand in the Mount Maunganui Test in January. He also showed a bit of white-ball promise in the BPL too, being a consistent performer for Comilla Victorians.
With Joy likely to win a middle-order place over Yasir in the first ODI and Bangladesh probably lining up with a three-man pace attack, this squad is anticipated tomorrow.
Bangladesh (probable): Litton Das, Tamim Iqbal (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudul Hasan Joy/Yasir Ali, Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Shoriful Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman
For Afghanistan, Riaz Hassan is likely to hold on to his spot after the half-century in the third ODI against Netherlands. Nabi will be a shoo-in at No. 6, while Yamin Ahmadzai is likely to replace Qais Ahmad, pace for spin.
Afghanistan (probable): Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Yamin Ahmadzai, Fareed Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi