Reputation at stake as Pakistan, Bangladesh lock horns in T20 series opener!
Expect Pakistan to register a comfortable win!
Host Pakistan will be looking to turn their fortunes around in the T20 format when they face Bangladesh in the opening game of the series played at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday.
The home side will be looking to break their six-match losing streak in the T20 format. The return of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik will bolster the batting resources for this series. For Pakistan, the series will present best opportunity to get things right in the shortest format of the game.
On the other hand, the absence of big players like Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim is a setback of sorts for Bangladesh. Skipper Mahmudullah will be hoping that the side can deliver a decent show with the bat and ball.
The hosts will be looking to break their winless streak on their home soil. Pakistan’s last T20 series at home was against West Indies in 2018. In the batting, department be depending once again on young Babar Azam to provide stability from the top and veteran all-rounder duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to deliver quick runs in the later stages of the innings.
Since Jan 2019, Babar Azam has topped the batting charts for the side in the T20 format. In 10 matches, Babar has accumulated 374 runs at an average of 41.55 with four half-centuries to his name. Ahsan Adil or Khushdil Khan might be slotted into the playing XI for this game. Haris Rauf might make his debut after his impressive stint for Melbourne Stars in this year’s Big Bash League.
In the bowling department, the focus will be once again pace trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Hasnain to make crucial breakthroughs with the new ball. Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim will be looking to dry up the runs and keep the pressure on the opposition batsmen in the middle overs of the innings.
Babar Azam (captain), Ahsan Adil/Khushdil Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Ahsan Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, SI Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Afridi, Iftikhar Ahmed
The visitors will be looking to put on a strong show with bat and ball in this T20I series opener at Lahore. In the batting department, the team will be depending on openers Tamim Iqbal and captain Mahmudullah to lead from the front and provide a platform for the likes of Liton Das and Afif Hossain to capitalize in the later stages of the innings.
In the previous series against Sri Lanka, rookie opener Mohammad Naim was the standout performer with the bat. He accumulated 143 runs in 3 innings at an average of 47.66 with one half-century to his name. The 20-year old will be looking to make an impression with the bat on his first tour to Pakistan.
In the bowling department, the team will be depending on pacer Mustafizur Rahman to provide breakthrough upfront with the new-ball. Mahedi Hasan and Aminul Islam will be prominent spin options for the side for this opening game of the T20I series.
Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Naim, Soumya Sarkar, Afif Hossain, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mahmudullah (captain), Liton Das (wk), Mahedi Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain/Al-Amin Hossain.
Al-Amin Hossain, Mohammad Naim, Mahmudullah, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Liton Das, Tamim Iqbal, Mustafizur Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain
Traditionally, the pitch at Gaddafi Stadium will be full of runs for both teams. The weather forecast for the game to be played on Friday is expected to stay fine throughout the day.
Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore is going to host the opening T20I game between Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pakistan will take heart from the fact that they have an excellent head-to-head against Bangladesh. The hosts will need to guard against complacency as they have lost their last three matches at this venue.
On the other hand, Bangladesh has managed two out of the last three T20I matches played against Pakistan.
The side that wins the toss would be looking to bowl first and make use of freshly prepared wicket. The last five matches played at Gaddafi Stadium have been won by sides batting second.
After analyzing both the squads, host Pakistan will be favorites to win their opening game against Bangladesh. With the likes of Babar Azam in sublime form with the bat, Pakistan will be expected to pile on the runs in this contest.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh will need to bring their A-game to the table in order to spring a surprise over Pakistan.
Expect Pakistan to register a comfortable win!