The first T20I at the Gaddafi Stadium wasn’t an overly high-scoring affair. But it went right down to the last over, keeping everyone at the edge of their seats. Albeit Pakistan were one step ahead, Bangladesh didn’t refuse to give up. In the end, Babar Azam’s men won by five wickets with three balls left. The teams won’t be having a break and will be returning at the same venue on Saturday.
It’s a must win-affair for the Tigers, who are devoid of few of their biggest stars. Their batting wasn’t quite up to mark in the previous game. Pakistan, on the other hand, had a disastrous outing in T20Is in 2019, being ICC’s number-one ranked side in the format. Bearing in mind the fight Mahmudullah and Co gave them, the hosts can’t afford to be complacent by any stretch of the imagination.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch in Lahore wasn’t an easy one for batting due to its indifferent nature. Shots on the up were hard to play and singles were mostly the way forward. The track is expected to be even slower in the second game and hence, teams shouldn’t hesitate to bat first. There are no chances of rain with the temperature around the 18 degrees Celsius mark. The humidity will mostly be in the high 50s.
Pakistan may not wish to tinker with their winning combo. Ahsan Ali looked good debut, especially during his partnership with Shoaib Malik. The latter marked his return with a sparkling half-century, guiding his team to victory. Babar Azam will be keen to make amends after getting out on a duck.
Mohammad Hafeez and Iftikhar Ahmed also looked in good rhythm, but need to be more consistent. In bowling, Mohammad Hasnain will be desperate to find his form after an off-day on Friday. Haris Rauf looked sharp on debut. Imad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan delivered as well.
Babar Azam (C), Ahsan Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf
The Tigers may wish to give Mustafizur Rahman another go. The left-armer was the most expensive bowler on the day, though he got a solitary wicket. Shafiul Islam picked up a couple of wickets, but he lost his radar quite a few times. The move to use Soumya Sarkar as a bowler also back-fired.
Aminul Islam Biplob didn’t give away a lot of runs, but didn’t look threatening either. Al-Amin Hossain was their standout bowler. Tamim and Naim need to focus on upping the ante after getting their eyes in. Liton Das, Riyad, Afif Hossain Dhrubo and Sarkar need to make use of their good form.
Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Naim Sheikh, Liton Das (wk), Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah Riyad (C), Afif Hossain Dhrubo, Mohammad Mithun, Aminul Islam Biplob, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Shafiul Islam
Probable Top Performers
Babar Azam – Pakistan| Mohammad Naim– Bangladesh
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Online– Sony LIV
Match Timings – 14:30 IST, 14:00 local time and 09:00 GMT.
The prediction is for the team, batting first to win the match.
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