Afghanistan to bowl 1st vs Bangladesh in World Cup debut
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Afghanistan’s first formal act in the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday was to lose a toss of the coin to determine which team had the choice of batting or bowling first in the Pool A match against Bangladesh.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza won the toss and opted to bat first at Manuka Oval.
Afghanistan is playing in its first World Cup in the 50-over format, an incredible achievement considering the team comprises many players who picked up the game in refugee camps outside their war-torn country and it was competing in the lowest tier of international cricket in 2008.
Afghanistan won its only previous one-day international encounter against Bangladesh, at the Asian Cup last year. Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan missed that match for Bangladesh but were back in the starting lineup on Wednesday.
Mohammad Nabi, who spent time as a child in a Peshawar, Pakistan refugee camp, will be leading an Afghan lineup that has absolutely nothing to lose.
“Pressure is not on Afghanistan. Pressure is totally on Bangladesh,” Nabi said on the eve of the match.
Bangladesh, a full member of the International Cricket Council since 2000, has been playing at the World Cup since 1999.
Ranked 12th in the ODI format, Afghanistan is targeting wins over Bangladesh and Scotland and needs to also beat one of four-time champion Australia, co-host New Zealand, England or 1996 champion Sri Lanka to have any chance of reaching the quarterfinals.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Nabi (captain), Afsar Zazai, Javed Ahmadi, Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Aftab Alam, Shapoor Zadran, Hamid Hassan.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed.
Umpires: Steve Davis, Australia, and Joel Wilson, West Indies.
Third Umpire: Aleem Dar, Pakistan. Match Referee: Jeff Crowe, New Zealand.