Daijiworld Media Network
Dhaka, Mar 4: Another interesting game of the Asia Cup awaits us as Bangladesh take on Pakistan. The hosts are yet to win a game in this series but they are a team with plenty of talent to boast of. They have caused a few upsets in the past and the return of Shakib, after serving a 3-match ban for inappropriate gestures, will definitely boost their morale. A win for Bangladesh also provides the opportunity for India to sneak in through the back door.
Pakistan, however, are going from strength to strength. After securing a close win against arch-rivals India, they would want to cruise through this encounter to claim bragging rights for the final alongside the hintherto unbeaten Sri Lankan unit. Although, their batting has been mediocre in recent times, their experienced and stable bowling attack can make the differene.
Bangladesh have won the toss and have opted to bat.
Misbah: 'Sharjeel is not 100 percent fit, Fawad gets a game. The pitch is getting slower here. Abdur Rehmann is a quality bowler. He returns to the side. Every game is important, we want to carry the momentum to the end of the tournament.'
Rahim: 'We are going have a bat first. There's nothing wrong with the wicket. It looks dry. Chasing might be a little difficult. Shakib is back. We have 5 changes. It will be difficult to tell the names. We made the changes depending upon a few injury concerns.'
Bangladesh (Playing XI): Imrul Kayes, Anamul Haque(w), Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim(c), Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Mahmudullah, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain
Pakistan (Playing XI): Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Misbah-ul-Haq(c), Umar Akmal(w), Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal
Pitch Report: 'The pitch is flat, good and well-rolled. It looks devoid of any grass. It is a two-paced track. It looks darker in some areas and is also very rough. The wicket will be slower and the ball will remain low.
Three spinners should be there in the team to put pressure on the opposition. Dew will come into effect in the last 15 overs or so. However, initially the faster bowlers might get a bit of movement because of the darker areas. Otherwise, it will remain slow and asssist the spinners', reckons Arun Lal
Hosts Bangladesh will take on a charged-up Pakistan, fresh from their thrilling one-wicket win over India, in Dhaka in a game that might yet hold some significance in context of the final berth.
Bangladesh are of course down for the count while Pakistan, in all probability will be through if they win on Tuesday. By the looks of things, it should not be a very difficult task for the 1992 world champions. Bangladesh have been severely crippled by the absence of Tamim Iqbal and to make matters worse, they lost Sohag Gazi and Mashrafe Mortaza half-way into the tournament.
Former captain Shakib-al-Hasan missed the first two games, against India and Afghanistan, serving a three-match suspension handed out by the BCB - his return will no doubt add a lot more balance to Mushfiqur Rahim's side.
Rahim is of course a frustrated man, after what he termed a 'shameful' loss against Afghanistan. The captain is a proud cricketer and he got off to a good start individually, scoring a hundred against India even though his team was crushed. But the defeat to Afghanistan has clearly hurt him and his pride and hence some harsh words in public followed - he said he would not be able to spoon-feed all his players and they needed to take up some responsibility.
Bangladesh have caused major upsets in the past, which included sensational victories over India and Sri Lanka in the last Asia Cup and convincing ODI series wins against New Zealand at home. Pakistan, on the other hand, are mercurial and it is anybody's guess which side turns up on the park on a given day.
Pakistan's batting has been a little susceptible and has relied this tournament mainly on Umar Akmal - once he failed against India, Mohammad Hafeez did take over but the chase of 246 turned out to be far trickier than it ought to be. Misbah-ul-Haq is their most consistent batsman but he has been run-out in two successive games, after a superb half-century against Sri Lanka in their opening game.
The difference at the end might well be Pakistan's superior bowling. The likes of Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Hafeez will be a potent force for Bangladesh but Rahim would hope that his team is able to come up with a special show to redeem some pride.
If Pakistan lose, it could well open the door a little wide for India to inch through to the title clash on Saturday.
We have to replace those players who, after being motivated, do not understand. It is not my or someone else's team. It is a matter of the nation - Mushfiqur Rahim, captain, Bangladesh
I had played some stupid shots in the previous games to get out. I know that my batting is very important to my team, so I have to be consistent in my batting - Shahid Afridi, all-rounder, Pakistan