Bangladesh v Afghanistan preview

The war-torn nation have made remarkable progress in recent years and have qualified for the last three World Twenty20 tournaments.

They will now make their bow in the 50-over tournament in Canberra, and the Pool A encounter gets underway at 03:30am Wednesday morning, UK time.

Afghanistan can field some experienced players in the form of Nowroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hasan.

And they will be quite hopeful of defeating Bangladesh, having upset them at the Asia Cup in Dhaka last year.

The dangerous but fragile Hasan will spearhead a pace attack which could unsettle the Bangladeshis while Shenwari is a leg-spinning all-rounder who made 81 in that victory in Dhaka.

Usman Ghani is set to open and the 18-year-old, who made 118 against Zimbabwe last July, will be the youngest player at the tournament.

Captain Mohammad Nabi said: ???For Afghanistan to play the 50-over World Cup is our dream.

“If there is positive news like the cricket players of Afghanistan in the World Cup, it totally changes the minds back home and also in the world as well.

“This is a game that can bring Afghanistan together and be a very good tool for peace and stability.

???The pressure is not on Afghanistan, the pressure is totally on Bangladesh, because we already beat them at the Asia Cup.

“Hopefully everyone controls their nerves and also controls the pressure as well. If we control the pressure, then we’ll perform well in the match.”

Former Warwickshire batsman Andy Moles coaches Afghanistan and added: ???They feel a real, genuine honour to be here and they want to do well for the public at home.

“It’s been well documented, the hardships that the players and the general public have at home all over Afghanistan.

???We need to make sure we’re calm, we’re calculated and that we execute our plans. If we do that, Bangladesh can look forward to a very hard game.

“We don’t play our best cricket when we just get a bit excited. We want to hit fours and sixes.”

Bangladesh will feel they must defeat Afghanistan if they are to finish in the top four in Pool A and qualify for the last eight.

However, they struggled for much of 2014 and lost to Ireland in their final pre-World Cup warm-up match.

But in Shakib Al Hasan they possess arguably the best player who will take to the pitch in Canberra.

The 27-year-old left-arm spinner and left-hand batsman is the mainstay of the side and the ICC???s top-ranked all-rounder in all three formats of the game.

Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam recently recorded the best Test bowling figures ever for Bangladesh (8-39 against Zimbabwe) and could also be a threat to the Afghans.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said: ???The kind of squad we have, I am confident we can reach the quarter-finals.???