Our Pick Bangladesh are favourites to win
Bangladesh and Afghanistan are set to play their first-ever bilateral one-day international series against each other. Bangladesh will host the 3-match ODI series with all the matches to be played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. This will be Afghanistan's second full series against a test playing nation other than Zimbabwe and a good opportunity for them to prepare for the forthcoming qualifiers for the ICC World Cup 2019. For the hosts, it will serve as a nice warm-up ahead of the more important home series against England. The first ODI is scheduled to begin on September 25 at 2:30 PM local time.
Read on for our betting tips and match prediction for Bangladesh vs Afghanistan 1st ODI...
11 ODIs have been played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium since 2015. First-innings scores in the range of 270s have been achieved twice and over 300 thrice in these matches. 329 is the highest successfully chased total at this ground. So anything above 300 should be more than competitive here.
The side batting first at this ground has won six of these eleven day/night matches including the three most recent matches. There seems to be a slight toss bias here and so the team that wins it is more likely to bat first.
Bangladesh have won five of their last six matches here in which they have batted first. So their chances of winning this match will increase dramatically if they bat first.
Predicted Score: Around 300
Bangladesh will expect openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes to give the innings a solid start. Tamim Iqbal - the leading run-scorer at the Shere Bangla - can be expected to score the most runs for his side. Kayes scored 76 and 73 in the two matches he played in the most recent ODI series against Zimbabwe. Mushfiqur Rahim had also hit a century here in the same series and even made 71 against Afghanistan in the 2015 World Cup game. If these three can get the big runs, Bangladesh should canter to 300 or more.
Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran are the three quality fast bowlers who will be leading Afghanistan's charge with the ball. Dawlat Zadran is the team's highest wicket-taker in ODIs - 65 wickets from 45 matches - and we expect him to finish with the best bowling figures. Just two wickets behind Zadran is Mohammad Nabi, the off-spinner who could also put the Bangladeshi batsmen in trouble. If the Afghan bowlers are able to run through the top-order, the hosts may not reach the 300 mark.
Predicted Score: Around 225
Afghanistan's batting is going to rely heavily on Mohammad Shahzad who has been their best batsman in recent times and provided them with ideal starts on many occasions. The opener struck two fifties in the last ODI series against Ireland and is likely to top-score on Sunday. Mohammad Nabi has scored the most runs for Afghanistan in ODIs and he will be a key member in the middle order. The visitors will need these two to be at their best if they are to post a total in excess of 225.
The Bangladeshi seam attack will be headed by seasoned campaigner Mashrafe Mortaza. The fast bowler has impressive figures of 74 wickets from 51 matches at the Shere Bangla and he will be backed by the team for providing the early breakthroughs. Shakib Al Hasan will be the main threat among the spinners. The allrounder is the leading wicket-taker for Bangladesh at this ground and is just two wickets away from becoming the leading wicket-taker for his team in ODIs. So we expect him to be the top bowler for his side. Afghanistan will find themselves in trouble if these two Bangladeshi bowlers are on top of their game.
Bangladesh and Afghanistan have gone head-to-head in only two one-day internationals in the past and the record between these two sides stands at 1-1. The first of them was played in Bangladesh in 2014 which Afghanistan won by 32 runs. Bangladesh then hit back hard with a 105-run win in the 2015 ICC World Cup held in Australia.
The two teams have never met in an ODI at the Shere Bangla National Stadium before.
Bangladesh have been in a scintillating form in the 50-overs format especially at home. Over the last year or so, they have played five bilateral ODI series - two against Zimbabwe and one each against Pakistan, India and South Africa - and have won all of them. They had even ousted England from the 2015 ICC World Cup in Australia by beating them in a group match. At Shere Bangla, they have won 12 and lost just 2 of their previous 14 ODI outings. However, the overall record for Bangladesh here is not too great for a home ground - 36 wins and 41 losses from 78 matches with a win percentage of 46.75.
Afghanistan too have had encouraging results in the past. They have played four bilateral ODI series away from home since last year and have not lost any of them. They played two 5-match series against Zimbabwe, one in Zimbabwe and the other in the UAE, and won both the series 3-2. They next toured Scotland and Ireland this year and while they beat Scotland 1-0 in a 2-match series, they drew the 5-match series 2-2 against Ireland. Afghanistan are yet to win an ODI at the Shere Bangla. They have played two matches here facing defeats in both of them.
Afghanistan are making rapid strides in limited overs cricket and the way they have progressed, a good fight can be expected from them on this tour. But since Bangladesh have been outstanding at home, we feel they are strong favorites to win this first one-day international.
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