Their opponents, Bangladesh, who were beaten convincingly by New Zealand in their first game, can only hope to qualify for the Super Eights if they beat Pakistan by a sizeable margin. Bangladesh need to win by more than 36 runs to finish with a higher net run-rate than Pakistan. In the event that they win by exactly 36 runs, thus finishing with the same net run-rate as Pakistan’s, they will still go through by the virtue of having won the head-to-head contest. Should Bangladesh be chasing, their net run-rate requirement will depend on the target set. For instance, if they’re chasing 150, they’ll have to score those runs in 15.4 overs or quicker. On current form, it seems like a struggle for Bangladesh.
Pakistan have the best bowling line-up and their fielding is in good shape with Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal patrolling the hitting zones. Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez are a threat to Bangladesh’s left-handers at the top of the order. Both Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan are good players and will be expected to bounce back strongly. The middle order is a capable one, comprising Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Nasir Hossain.
Bangladesh’s bowling remains a worry, with Shakib and Tamim having said after the game against New Zealand that spinners would require some help from the conditions. Mushfiqur’s captaincy will also be tested in a game in which his team is the underdog, but is expected to produce a much-improved performance.
(completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for
Nasir Jamshed has already made a mark, but he also knows the Bangladesh team well, having played in the Dhaka Premier League for three seasons, including the most recent one. He played in the Bangladesh Premier League for Chittagong Kings, and his performance for them contributed to his selection in the Pakistan side. The shot that stood out during his half-century against New Zealand was the lofted drive over extra cover. He did it twice against Nathan McCullum, and it’s something Bangladesh’s spinners will watch out for.
Shakib Al Hasan will be one of them. His four overs will again be crucial for Bangladesh, as will his role with the bat at No 3. New Zealand was a bad outing for Shakib, who has the ability to fight back in the only way he knows: runs and wickets.
Pakistan left out Mohammad Sami and Abdul Razzaq for the opening game. It’ll be interesting to see if one of them gets a go, with qualification not yet secured.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Nazir, 3 Nasir Jamshed, 4 Kamran Akmal (wk), 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Yasir Arafat, 9 Sohail Tanvir, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Saeed Ajmal.
Mashrafe Mortaza injured his shin during practice, but is confident of recovering for the game. Having been clobbered for 117 runs in 12 overs, the Bangladesh spinners would, presumably, not be very high on confidence. Mushfiqur and coach Richard Pybus have a decision to make about who, if at all, to leave out. Mushfiqur said at the pre-match conference that Bangladesh could consider going in with an extra seamer.
There is a possibility that Abul Hasan could replace left-arm spinner Elias Sunny or fellow seamer Shafiul Islam, depending on what the team management believes is the right bowling combination. However, any tweaks in the batting line-up are unlikely.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Mohammad Ashraful, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Nasir Hossain, 7 Ziaur Rahman, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Elias Sunny/Abul Hasan, 11 Shafiul Islam.
Pitch and conditions
The pitch is again likely to favour batting but the seamers can expect some movement after sunset. Group D has been unaffected by rain so far. On Tuesday, the forecast is for clear skies.
Stats and trivia
- Sohail Tanvir still hasn’t been dismissed for a duck in his T20 international career, having played 10 innings in 24 games so far.
- Nasir Hossain, Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful are the only batsmen in the Bangladesh team to have scored two half-centuries in T20 internationals.
“Pakistan are world class in all sectors and they have a Twenty20 pedigree in abundance. However, no team is unbeatable in this format. We have to be at our best and hope that best is good enough on the day.”
Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal puts up a brave face.
“We are not thinking as if we have already qualified [for the Super Eights]. We have to play well against Bangladesh. On certain days in T20, anybody can win. We are not going to take any one easy.”
Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistan captain, doesn’t want his team to be complacent