Bangladesh haven’t had many answers to the questions Pakistan posed to them in the three-match T20I series. Hence, Mahmudullah and Co have now found themselves at 0-2, having already conceded the series. In both matches at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the Tigers’ batsmen, barring Tamim Iqbal, couldn’t show much fight. The Pakistan batters chased down targets with sheer ease.
The visitors’ bowlers also couldn’t exert enough pressure. Mustafizur Rahman, their premier fast bowler, has been awry and hasn’t been able to build any pressure. Pakistan, on the other hand, buried the ghosts of 2019 and started 2020 with a series victory. Babar Azam’s men would now wish for a series whitewash with a win. The Men in Green haven’t had a standout performer thus far.
Rather, the team has put forth a collective show owing to which they have been able to dominate. They decided to resort to veterans- Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik- and both haven’t flattered to deceive. Meanwhile, Bangladesh have clearly looked short of firepower after Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan missed out due to various reasons. They will be looking to make amends.
Pakistan may think about trying out their bench strength. Muhammad Musa, who made his debut in Australia, is likely to get a look in. He may come in place of Mohammad Hasnain, who has two wickets to his name. Even Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Afridi have two wickets each.
Afridi has been the most frugal of the regular bowlers with an economy of 5.62. Babar Azam got a duck first time, but made amends with a match-winning 66* in the last game, Hafeez and Malik are high on confidence as well after their fifties. Ahsan Ali would wish to show a bit more consistency.
Babar Azam (C), Ahsan Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain/Muhammad Musa
The Tigers have the option of trying out Rubel Hossain, who was in good form in the BPL. Rubel can be picked in place of Mustafizur, who has a solitary wicket at an economy of 9.85. Shafiul and Al Amin, the other two pacers, have looked good in patches, but haven’t been penetrative enough.
Mahedi Hasan did reasonably while bowling off-breaks in the powerplay. Tamim Iqbal has looked to be the sole warrior in the batting unit. The veteran has 104 runs with scores of 65 and 39. The left-handed Soumya Sarkar tweaked his hamstring and he may make way for Mohammad Mithun.
Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Naim, Mahedi Hasan, Liton Das (wk), Afif Hossain Dhrubo, Mahmudullah (C), Soumya Sarkar/Mohammad Mithun, Aminul Islam Biplob, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman/Rubel Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain
Focus will be on
Ahsan Ali (Pakistan)
In the ongoing series, Pakistan picked neither Fakhar Zaman nor Imam-ul-Haq as the opener. Rather, the hosts went for Ahsan Ali to partner Babar Azam at the top of the order. He looked good in the first game, but couldn’t control his anxiety in the second match. After a few dot balls, he tried to attack Shafiul and perished for a duck. In the third match, Ali will be looking for a better performance.
Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh)
Tamim Iqbal is undoubtedly the leading run-scorer of the series. However, having played at a strike-rate of 119.54, he hasn’t quite been able to churn out the big shots in need. It’s a reason why he has faced a lot of criticism from the Bangladesh fans of late. The Chittagong-born has been able to anchor the innings, but now needs to ensure that he ups his strike-rate after getting his eye in.
Head to Head
Played-12, Pakistan won- 10, Bangladesh won- 2
8– Runs Mohammad Hafeez needs for 2,000 T20I runs
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Match Timings – 14:30 IST, 14:00 local time and 09:00 GMT.
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