ICL: Indian Cricket League

Pakistan set to test bench strength


Match facts

Sunday, April 13, 2008 Start time 15:00 local time (10:00 GMT)

The Big Picture

Pakistan are predictably 2-0 ahead in the series following comprehensive wins in Lahore and Faisalabad. A win in Lahore tomorrow will seal the series, so the pressure falls on Bangladesh to pull off a surprise victory and stay alive in what has been a woefully one-sided series so far. The Pakistan batting has a solid look to it, with Salman Butt, Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik piling up 50-plus scores and setting up the wins.

Bangladesh had a few positives in the previous game, the most significant being the lower-order revival led by Mahmudullah. The application on show was an improvement on their previous outings against other Test-playing nations as they managed bat out their quota of overs without being bowled out. Unfortunately, the bowlers failed to back that effort and apply any pressure during Pakistan’s chase.

Form guide - Pakistan

Last five matches - WWWWW

Player to watch: Shahid Afridi is hungry and itching for more action. In Lahore, he belted 27 from 11 balls towards the end of the innings, and was the most effective Pakistan bowler with figures of 3 for 33 in the following game. He remains a crowdpuller wherever he goes and the spectators at the Gaddafi Stadium will hope for a longer stint at the crease. A promotion in the batting order would help.

Form guide - Bangladesh

Last five matches - WWWLL

Player to watch: A livewire with the bat, Mohammad Ashraful remains infuriatingly unpredictable. His last few scores have been ordinary despite the fact that he has mostly got off to starts. In Faisalabad, he got off to a terrific beginning, unfurling an upper cut and following it up with three boundaries in an over. Though his cameo ended at 22, there’s no doubt he will be keen to buckle down and make a better contribution.

Team news

With Younis Khan pulling out of the remainder of the series, Pakistan will be forced to make at least one change. Bazid Khan, the right-hand middle-order batsman who’s making a comeback after three years, is one of the options. However, the captain Shoaib Malik spoke of playing an extra bowler, and that could give an opportunity for Fawad Alam, the allrounder who bowls left-arm spin. Umar Gul, back in the squad after recovering from a back injury, could be rested in favour of Sohail Khan, the promising right-arm seamer. For Bangladesh, Shahriar Nafees will be under pressure to retain his place after two failures.

Pakistan (likely) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Nasir Jamshed, 3 Bazid Khan, 4 Mohammad Yousuf, 5 Shoaib Malik (capt), 6 Misbah-ul-Haq, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Kamran Akmal (wk), 9 Rao Iftikhar, 10 Sohail Khan, 11 Sohail Tanvir.

Bangladesh (likely) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Aftab Ahmed, 4 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mashrafe Mortaza, 8 Farhad Reza, 9 Dhiman Ghosh (wk), 10 Syed Rasel, 11 Abdur Razzak.

Pitch and conditions

The pitch is expected to play similar to the one from the first match. The batsmen should enjoy the conditions early on, with the surface likely to take turn as the match progresses. However, there is rain in the air in Punjab and the weather could intervene, just as it had in Faisalabad.

Stats and trivia

  • Rao Iftikhar Anjum needs just one more wicket to reach the milestone of 50 wickets in ODIs.
  • Of the 53 matches at the Gaddafi Stadium, the team batting first have won on 25 occasions.Quotes

“We are planning to try out six bowling options but we will decide once we see the pitch in Lahore.”
Shoaib Malik

“We need our top six to perform and not get out to rash shots at bad times. We will be better in the next three matches.”
Mohammad Ashraful

Source:Cricket News

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