Without Shakib, Bangladesh look weaker but will hope their other senior players step up
But they have had other contributors as well. Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks stepped up against West Indies while captain Temba Bavuma has been among the runs too. There have been some surprises as well. Fast bowler Dwayne Pretorius has been a revelation at the death, while Kagiso Rabada has shown off his big shots at No 8.
Bangladesh, though, haven’t had as many contributors in the tournament. Young left-arm quick Shoriful Islam showed why he is highly rated with his superb spell against West Indies. Mahedi Hasan has bowled well in patches while Liton Das showed a bit of form with the bat in the last game.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah would again be held responsible for the middle-order but the others like Mohammad Naim, Soumya Sarkar and Afif Hossain will be expected to step up too. Bangladesh will also be looking to improve their catching, death bowling and powerplay batting – otherwise, it would be a cakewalk for South Africa.
South Africa WWLWW (last five completed matches)
In the spotlight
Batters like David Miller are priceless in UAE conditions. As he showed against Sri Lanka with his two big sixes in the last over, big-hitters have to bide their time, rotate the strike in the middle overs before blasting off at the death.
Shoriful Islam bowled superbly in the 17th and 19th overs of the West Indies innings, finishing with 2 for 20 in his four overs. It was one of the few bright spots in the Bangladesh team, as the left-arm quick used his change of pace very well. Shoriful’s development also shows the strength of Bangladesh’s pace attack this year.
Coach Russell Domingo said that Shamim Hossain will replace Shakib in the Bangladesh XI. Nurul Hasan, who missed the match against West Indies, is still unfit to play.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Liton Das (wk), 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Shamim Hossain, 8 Mahedi Hasan, 9 Shoriful Islam, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
There’s no official word on Shamsi and Miller, which could also mean they are probably fit to play. In that case, South Africa would remain unchanged.
South Africa (possible): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Temba Bavuma (capt), 5 Aiden Markram, 6 David Miller, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84