Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-The first T20 will be a test of Bangladesh’s pristine confidence, as the hosts take on the established pedigree of South Africa. The tone of the four-week tour could well be set at the venue of the opener – the Shere Bangla National Stadium where Bangladesh are generally fairly comfortable.
South Africa are on their first bilateral tour of Bangladesh since 2008, although they have been here for the 2011 World Cup and 2014 World T20. The last encounter between the two sides was in 2011, when Bangladesh were bowled out for 78 and suffered a humiliating exit from the World Cup, reports ESPNcricinfo.
Going into this game, however, Bangladesh are in completely different shape. They have been quite the form side in 2015, even winning their only T20 of the year, against Pakistan in Mirpur. It was just two days after they had completed a 3-0 ODI series win over them. However, Bangladesh’s T20 performance has generally been sub-par, as they have won just 12 out of 42 games.

South Africa, meanwhile, are the second most successful international T20 team currently, just behind Pakistan. The last time they played Bangladesh in this format was in 2008, but curiously, both teams will go into this game having won their last game but lost the previous four.
South Africa’s bowling, deemed as their second-string attack, will have to keep Bangladesh’s in-form top and middle-order in check. If the hosts’ batsmen can hold their own, that battle will intensify. But it could be a lop-sided contest when South Africa bat, particularly against a Bangladesh attack that has many attacking options, but only few proven performers in T20s.
It could be a close affair, but that will depend on how much the home side is given the liberty to play their own game.
Bangladesh: WLLLL
South Africa: WLLLL
Sohag Gazi will bowl with a new action after being cleared by the ICC in February. He has not racked up impressive numbers in the domestic game this year, but has been chosen in the T20 squad as an attacking option.
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said the bowlers will have to pray that AB de Villiers gets out early. It will be interesting to see whether he bats in the top-order, where he has not been a regular for much of his T20 international career.
Bangladesh are likely to keep Jubair Hossain, Rony Talukdar and Rubel Hossain in the bench, opting for two left-arm spinners and Sohag Gazi’s off-spin in their bowling attack.
BANGLADESH (POSSIBLE): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Litton Das, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 6 Sabbir Rahman, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Sohag Gazi, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Arafat Sunny

South Africa could have AB de Villiers as an opener or No 3, according to Faf du Plessis. The visitors could also employ a bit of extra pace in the form of Kagiso Rabada in Mirpur after he impressed in the slow pitch of Fatullah.
SOUTH AFRICA (POSSIBLE): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rilee Rossouw, 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 JP Duminy, 7 David Wiese, 8 Wayne Parnell/Chris Morris, 9 Kyle Abbott, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Aaron Phangiso/Eddie Leie
From close inspection, the Mirpur pitch has looked barren even though it was prepared with a bit of juice in the Pakistan and India series. South Africa’s pace attack would, however, require the home side to think differently and a slow, low pitch could be the recipe. Some rain has also been forecast after sunset.
Mashrafe Mortaza is now the second Bangladesh bowler to take 300 international wickets in all formats.
Only five players from the current sides – AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim – played in the last Bangladesh-South Africa T20, played on November 5 2008.
South Africa, with three wins out of five in Bangladesh, have a better win/loss ratio in Bangladesh than the home side, who have won five out of 15 T20s.
“We appreciate that Bangladesh main side competition will be a lot harder.”
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis
“I don’t take T20 as too much of a challenge. I don’t give it too much of importance.”
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza