Match preview: Afghanistan v Bangladesh
Manuka Oval, Canberra
Bangladesh come into this game under pressure as the relative favourites, having lost to Ireland in the warm-ups and having a dire build-up, while Afghanistan are pressure-free as the Associate underdogs.
It's their first World Cup match ever, and they will be excited, passionate, and confident about their chances, given their history against the Tigers. Their coach has warned the players not to get too excited, but they're unlikely to take notice of that.
Bangladesh will be relying on all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan for success, given he's their most experienced and highest-ranked player. He has played in Australia recently, in the Big Bash, and Afghanistan's batsmen could come well short against his spin.
The Bangladesh batsmen, on the other hand, will need to be careful of the opposition pacemen, especially Dawlat Zadran. He's fast and accurate, and the 'minnows' have said they feel more suited to Oz conditions because of their fast bowlers.
In all honesty, there won't be many non-Bangladeshis cheering for the Tigers. The world loves the Afghan side, enthralled by their tale of refugee camp cricket and determination. An upset would go down well for most.
The only time these sides have faced each other in an ODI was in the Asia Cup last year. Afghanistan won that game by 32 runs, as Bangladesh imploded spectacularly in that tournament. Afghanistan made 254 for six thanks to 90 not out from Asghar Stanikzai and 81 from Samiullah Shenwari. The Tigers were bowled out for 222 as Mohammad Nabi took three wickets.
World Cup meetings
They've obviously never met at a World Cup. As for Bangladesh, in the four World Cups they've competed in, they've only reached the second stage once. Incidentally, no Tigers batsman has scored a century at a World Cup, and none of their bowlers have recorded a five-fer. Shakib is the likeliest to change both of those stats.
Afghanistan batsman Samiullah Shenwari could rack up some good runs here if he survives Shakib. He has the highest ODI average off all the batsmen in his side, above 36, and is second only to Nabi in experience and runs scored. He also enjoys facing the Tigers, as we saw in their Asia Cup win.
Bangladesh have no other option but to look to Shakib-al-Hasan. The number one all rounder in the world, his bowling is particularly dangerous, even to big-name batsmen. Coming in down the order, he can flay wayward bowling too.
Steve Davis and Joel Wilson, Aleem Dar (3rd umpire), Jeff Crowe (match referee)
Some cloud cover in the morning and late afternoon, but nothing too serious, and the temperatures will be in the mid to high 20s all day. Perfect cricket weather.
One imagines the Test-playing side will pull this one out of the bag, but if they falter then Afghanistan could well take advantage again. Canberra fans are in for a treat!
Steve Smith debate has been “blown up” says England all-rounder Chris Woakes
The former Australia captain was filmed scratching at the batting crease while fielding against India.
Moeen Ali coronavirus quarantine extended after mild symptoms
The England all-rounder is now unlikely to feature in England’s Test series in Sri Lanka.
Australia captain Tim Paine defends Steve Smith over guard incident
Smith was accused of deliberately scuffing away the guard of India batsman Rishabh Pant during the third Test in Sydney.
Australia go on the defensive over Steve Smith scuffing saga
Australia have closed ranks around Steve Smith, who is upset over being painted as a villain following the drawn third Test against India.
On This Day in 1996: Dickie Bird announces retirement from umpiring
Bird umpired in 66 Tests and 69 one-day internationals.
Dan Lawrence adamant he will stick to ‘unique’ batting technique in Test arena
The 23-year-old should make his Test debut when England start their two-match series against Sri Lanka.
Steve Smith criticised for appearing to scuff Rishabh Pant’s guard in third Test
Former Australia captain Steve Smith was branded “childish” after an incident during the final day of their drawn third Test against India
Tim Paine admits he let the Australian bowlers down
Australia captain Tim Paine believes he was at least partially to blame for his side failing to bowl India.
Testing times on tour in Sri Lanka – the life of an international cricketer
Gloucestershire’s James Bracey is on his first overseas tour with England. Here he writes about his experiences so far in Sri Lanka.
India salvage unlikely draw in third Test against Australia
India salvaged an unlikely draw as the third Test against Australia reached a thrilling finale.