Bangladesh's captain Shakib Al Hasan
Bangladesh's captain Shakib Al Hasan Image Credit: AFP

Dharamsala: Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan leads his side into their World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Dharamsala on Saturday with Tigers fans again looking to the all-rounder for match-winning heroics.

In the corresponding fixture four years ago, Shakib produced one of the best individual displays in men's World Cup history, which dates back to 1975.

By scoring 51 and then taking 5-29 with his left-arm spin in a match Bangladesh won by 62 runs, the talented Shakib became just the second player after India's Yuvraj Singh to post a fifty and enjoy a five-wicket haul in the same World Cup match.

Shakib was in superb form during the 2019 edition, seven times passing fifty as well as taking 11 wickets.

His runs and wickets helped power the Tigers to convincing wins over West Indies and South Africa, although there was a sense of what might have been for Bangladesh following narrow defeats by New Zealand and India.

And it was the memory of those losses that clearly still weighed heavily on Shakib's mind when he spoke at Wednesday's pre-tournament captains' press conference.

"Now it's time for us to put on a good show," he said. "Our team is ready, and the country is expecting a little more than what we did previously."

Afghanistan have won just one of their 15 World Cup matches since they joined the tournament in 2015 - a one-wicket thriller against Scotland in Dunedin eight years ago.

But they do have a relatively good head-to-head record against Bangladesh, with six wins from 15 ODI matches.

And two of those wins came in successive games in Bangladesh as recently as July, including a stunning 142-run success where Afghanistan openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (145) and Ibrahim Zadran (100) both scored centuries.

Globetrotting T20 franchise spin star Rashid Khan has long been the -poster-boy for the team, with Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi saying: "We have very good quality spinners and the conditions are suitable for us."

But the skipper added: "I believe in this World Cup we will give a statement about the batting."

Promoting the women's game has long been a key condition for membership of the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), but so far Afghanistan has escaped sanction.