Hosts Bangladesh will play their mighty neighbour India in the opening match of the five-team 13th Asia Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Wednesday.
The first match of the maiden T20 format Asia Cup Cricket will start at 7:30pm (BST).
On the eve of the match, Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza expressed his determination and confidence to do better in the ensuing Asia Cup ahead of the next-month World T20 in India.
Addressing a pre-match press conference at a city hotel on Tuesday, Mashrafe said anything can happen in cricket on a particular day, especially in T20 cricket, even against an ‘underdog’ side.
He agreed that Indian batting line up is always challenging for any team and in any format of cricket, but his side also have talented players to go through against them confidently.
“We’ll take it (the match) seriously as they (India) have outstanding batting order and we’ve that talent to go through,” Mashrafe said.
The Narail Express informed that there is no scope for any experiment in the tournament as they did all their experiments against Zimbabwe in January last.
Replying to a query, the Bangladesh skipper praised off-cutter pacer Mustafizur Rahman, expecting a good bowling from him with his natural style on the match day.
He hoped that all of his team members will play as like as they played during their practice session, saying if they are able to do this, they will make a good result.
Mashrafe mentioned that he is missing opener Tamim Iqbal, who is now on leave for family affairs.
Indian team manager Nishant Arora informed that participation of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the opener is still uncertain due to muscle spasm.
“He was recovering well; we’ve a backup also with us, and he (Dhoni) will be assessed before the match. If he is not fit, Parthiv Patel will replace him,” Nishant said.
Dhoni suffered a muscle spasm during the practice session in Fatullah on Monday and the Board of Cricket Control India (BCCI) sent Parthiv Patel as his backup.
Indian hard hitter batsman cum vice captain Virat Kohli, who appeared in the press conference, said, “MS is our pillar in the middle order. If Parthiv comes in, we’ve to chalk out a team combination for batting; we’ll need to discuss to make a concreted plan.”
Virat also described the tournament as an opportunity to assess the balance, strength and weakness before the World T20.
He loudly admired Bangladesh young cutter-talent Mustafizur, saying, “Mustafizur has done really well….it becomes very tough for any batting line-up in the world when one of the pacers of your opposition picks up four to five wickets alone. When one faces a bowler like Mustafizur, there is no room for improving your batting skill as well.”
Prior to the press conference, the trophy of the tournament was unveiled in the presence of the captains of the five participating teams.
This is the first time the Asia Cup is witnessing T20 format and the inclusion of an associate nation through four-team qualifying round.
ICC associate nation United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined the four Asian Test nations, including hosts Bangladesh, defending champions Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India, in the main round battle to compete in the five-nation meet.
ICC’s three other associate nations-- Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Oman -- fought for the lone spot in the main round.
Bangladesh is hosting the Asia Cup Cricket for the 5th time and the 3rd time in a row.
Bangladesh squad (probable): Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Nurul Hasan, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (captain), Arafat Sunny, Mustafizur Rahman and Al-Amin Hossain.
India squad (probable): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain)/ Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra.