Bangladesh will enter the final stage of their South Africa tour when they play the first T20I of the two-match series against the host at Mangaung Oval Thursday.
The game gets underway at 6pm, local time, and 10pm, Bangladesh standard time, and GTV and Maasranga TV will telecast it live.
The Tigers will begin a new era in the T20Is as all-rounder Shakib al Hasan will lead the side because of ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza’s retirement from the shortest format of the game back in April this year. This is the first time Bangladesh have three different captains in as many formats.
Bangladesh announced a 14-member squad for the T20Is and no one has been called from home to take part in the series.
As opener Tamim Iqbal and pacer Mustafizur Rahman returned home after being ruled out from the rest of the tour, this will be a tough encounter for Bangladesh against the Proteas, who always play aggressive cricket in the shorter format.
“There are some injury worries. We are seeing players who played Tests and ODIs in this tour. So quite naturally, there was no option to think as far as selection is concerned. We have 14 available players, so we have to pick our best XI. I think it is a good opportunity to find ourselves in a good place despite being in such a situation. We will be able to show a side of our character,” said Shakib during the pre-match press conference Wednesday.
“I think it is such a short format that we don’t have much time to think about things, which is to our advantage. In Tests and ODIs there’s a lot of time to think, which leads to a lot of complicated thinking. So if everyone can keep things simple, we can leave with a good performance,” the new Tigers T20I captain added.
Meanwhile, regular South Africa captain Faf du Plessis injured himself during the third and final ODI at Buffalo Park in East London Sunday when he was on 91. Later, he retired hurt and after two days it was revealed that the right-handed batsman has been ruled out for at least six weeks. Batsman JP Duminy will lead the side in his absence. Stand-in captain Duminy believes Bangladesh have nothing to lose and they are expecting a tough fight.
“I definitely think there will be competition. The shorter the format is, the closer teams come to. Bangladesh (are) pretty much a formidable team. We expect tough competition in these two matches. The goal for us is to win 2-0, just like the Test (and) ODI series,” Duminy explained during the presser.
As expected, the pitch at Mangaung Oval, the biggest ground in this tour so far, will be batting-friendly. So far only one T20I has been played at the venue and that was back in 2010 when South Africa took on Zimbabwe. South Africa chased down 170-odd runs within 15 overs.