Friday, April 11, 2008
Start time 15:00 local time (10:00 GMT)
Despite having crushed Bangladesh in Lahore, Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, has emphatically stated that his side’s five-match contest against the visitors is ‘not a time-pass series’. Bangladesh have been swept on each of their trips to Pakistan but Malik refused to underestimate them and cautioned against complacency. Pakistan have blooded a few youngsters recently and they want to keep their options open with bigger assignments ahead.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, may be wondering just what they need to do to win a game against Test-match opposition. Their recent form is disappointing and their batting lacks depth. Mashrafe Mortaza’s return to bowling form has been important but the lack of support remains a concern.
With few teams touring Pakistan due to security concerns the local fans would be hoping for a win to boost spirits in these times of political unrest.
Form guide - Pakistan
Last five matches: WWWWW Player to watch: Shahid Afridi biffed 27 from 11 balls to get Pakistan past 300 in Lahore and then bagged 3 for 41 to help skittle Bangladesh out for 129. With the lucrative Indian Premier League kicking off this month Afridi could well use the remaining two games to get into some form with the bat. He averages 33.33 against Bangladesh.
Form guide - Bangladesh
Last five matches: LWWWW
Player to watch: Dhiman Ghosh, the young rookie wicketkeeper, has been a livewire in his seven ODIs so far, most exceptionally in the first game against Pakistan where he took four catches. His batting has been disappointing, but he has got a good first-class record and is capable of big hits. A promotion up the order - he batted at No. 9 in Lahore - may not be a bad idea.
Pakistan have options with which to rotate their squad but they may hold off until the series is in the bag. Their top order wobbled a bit but they aren’t likely to tinker with Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed - at the start of what has been a promising six-game career - and Younis Khan, who may also have the IPL on his mind. The middle order remains Pakistan’s strength along with an effective and varied bowling attack.
Abdur Razzak had a poor outing in Lahore but his one-day success and his experienced means he will stay in the starting line-up. Bangladesh could consider swapping Mahmudullah, who bled 59 runs in five overs and made just 2, for allrounder Nazimuddin.
Bangladesh (likely) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Aftab Ahmed, 4 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Raqibul Hasan, 7 Nazimuddin, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Farhad Reza, 10 Dhiman Ghosh (wk), 11 Abdur Razzak.
Pakistan (likely) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Nasir Jamshed, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Mohammad Yousuf, 5 Shoaib Malik (capt), 6 Misbah-ul-Haq, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Kamran Akmal (wk), 9 Rao Iftikhar, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Sohail Tanveer.
Umpires: Steve Bucknor, Aleem Dar.
Pitch & conditions
The Iqbal Stadium has only once witnessed a total of over 300 but the pitch - which looks firm and brown - is expected to offer good runs to the batsmen. The side that wins the toss should bat first, and hope to shut out the opposition. Inclement weather has often hampered play at the venue - and there was a cloud cover on the eve of the game -but at this time of year it’s not a worry, despite the late start.
Stats & trivia
“You can’t judge a team on one match alone. This is cricket where you can’t take any team lightly. This is not a time-pass series for us. We are taking it seriously and we want to improve our fielding and fitness during it. Our first priority is to win the series.”
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Bangladesh, Bangladesh in Pakistan 2008, Pakistan, Shoaib Malik
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, April 11th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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