Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 10, 2012

Pakistan look to erase UAE drubbing

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Match facts

March 11, 2012
Start time 1400 (0800 GMT)

Big Picture

Bangladesh's and Pakistan's last meeting seems like it happened yesterday. Not too long ago, Pakistan toured the country, winning all games quite comfortably, before heading to the UAE. There's a chance they could face each other again shortly for another series of limited-overs games, in Pakistan, if the tour gets a go-ahead. Their meeting tomorrow is not a bilateral event, but a tournament which has been shoe-horned into an already cramped calendar. Seven games have been crammed into 12 days, with each team meeting the other once before the top two make the final. The flip side to such a format is that a poor start, or a surprise defeat could jeopardise a team's chances of qualifying.

The head-to-head record suggests that Pakistan are overwhelming favourites. That's what many would have predicted after they steamrolled England, the top Test side, 3-0 in the UAE. Yet, their 0-4 crash to the same team in the one-dayers confounded many, coming against a side which has traditionally under-performed in the shorter format.

Nevertheless, it was a wake-up call for Misbah-ul-Haq and the rest who took their foot off the pedal after the Test series. Perhaps they were homesick, or plain tired. In that sense, this Asia Cup assumes more context for Pakistan, who would want to sign off their season on a high, synonymous with their performance over the last year-and-a-half.

The Bangladesh players have been a busy bunch themselves. In a sense, the Asia Cup has been positioned aptly for the Bangladesh audience, who are just coming off the hangover of the Bangladesh Premier League. Whether the BPL will have a positive impact on Bangladesh's stature as an international team or not is a discussion for another day.

The tournament has given local players a chance to mingle with internationals. Despite that, the performances of some of the local players were underwhelming. There was also some off-field drama, with Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, calling the BPL a "disorganised" tournament. Despite some of the farcical behind-the-scenes action causing the organisers a lot of embarrassment, the Bangladesh fans appear to be in a feel-good wave and their enthusiasm will be crucial even in matches not involving their team.

Form guide

Bangladesh LLLWL
Pakistan LLLLW

In the spotlight

Mashrafe Mortaza has made several comebacks from injury. Tomorrow, he opens yet another chapter. A knee injury sidelined him from the 2011 World Cup. He returned for the Australia ODIs shortly after but hasn't played an international match since. He captained the Dhaka Gladiators to the BPL title, taking 10 wickets with a strike every 24 balls. His presence adds experience to the seam attack.

One of Pakistan's most consistent batsmen in the last year, Mohammad Hafeez, has suddenly slipped. In the ODI series against England, Hafeez managed just 61 from four games. Pakistan will need him to play a steady hand at the top of the order.

Pitch and conditions

The pitch at the Shere Bangla Stadium has a bit of grass, a deviation from the normally slow surfaces which have prompted captains to bring their spinners on from the second over.

Teams

All Bangladesh players are available for selection, but if the pitch continues to have that layer of grass, then the teams might be tempted to field an extra quick bowler. Bangladesh have recalled the batsman Jahurul Islam so there's a chance for him to stake a claim in the middle order.

Sarfraz Ahmed will make a comeback as Pakistan's wicketkeeper, after Adnan Akmal was left out.

Bangladesh (likely) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Mahmudullah, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt and wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Nasir Hossain, 7 Jahurul Islam, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Elias Sunny, 11 Shafiul Islam

Pakistan (likely) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Azhar Ali/Nasir Jamshed, 3 Younis Khan 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Aizaz Cheema

Stats and trivia

  • Shahid Afridi is just one run away from 7000 ODI runs

  • Bangladesh's first-ever one-day international was at the Asia Cup in 1986, incidentally, against Pakistan

  • Bangladesh have previously hosted two editions of the Asia Cup, in 1988-89 and 2000

    Quotes

    "He's the main player with both ball and bat, so we are focussing on him, but it is a team of 11. Anybody can contribute, so also have to have to a plan against every player."
    Misbah-ul-Haq knows Bangladesh rely heavily on Shakib Al Hasan

    Edited by Abhishek Purohit

    Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • M_Rakibul_Islam on March 11, 2012, 12:24 GMT

      Good to see Misbah recognizes Quality of Shakib like other International cricketer but BD has some other stars too.

    • Sinhaya on March 11, 2012, 11:08 GMT

      @touqeer777, thanks a lot. Afridi is a bit of a difficult character with selectors as you heard from the fall out with Waqar last year although now it is resolved. Who is Uman and Sadaf? If you can tell me their full names I can look at their cricinfo profile. Dont say Pakistan is a struggling team after winning 3-0 against England in the tests. Yes there are quite a few 30 plus players meaning some will have to retire before 2015 world cup. So it is time that Babar Azam, Hammad Azam and Usman Salahuddin get ample chances to establish themselves in the side. Sri Lanka has Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Dinesh Chandimal and established youngsters. Hope more will be found soon to fill up Sanga's and Mahela's shoes!

    • Sports4Youth on March 11, 2012, 10:57 GMT

      Younis Khan The thouroughly uselelss batsman in Limited overs cricket once again FAILS. I dont say that he dissapointed, because i dont ever expect him to perform in limited overs games. Somehow no-one can see this. It is only the younsters who are under pressure to score and that too quickly. The other liablity Misball (tuk-tuk) is the same. . These two Vintage era specialist Test Match players should be kept only to test matches.

    • Sports4Youth on March 11, 2012, 7:17 GMT

      Pakistan will get similer drubbing like they got against england. The only relief may come against the bangladesh match which is evenly matched. All the othe matches are going to be one sided affairs.

    • zulfi43 on March 11, 2012, 7:11 GMT

      Must give hamad azam chance against BanglaDesh rather then big team like india or srilanka but misbah has some problem with him

    • Cricinfouser on March 11, 2012, 7:04 GMT

      i am with bangladesh....go tigers fight

    • Sinhaya on March 11, 2012, 6:36 GMT

      @huddini17, it is Neo Cricket that will show it. Not Ten cricket because they will show Australia's tour of West Indies.

    • rahulcricket007 on March 11, 2012, 6:14 GMT

      INDIA WILL LOSE ALL MATCHES IN ASIA CUP BADLY .

    • touqeer777 on March 11, 2012, 5:18 GMT

      Sinhya I agree with you.Usman salahuddin is best young talented batsman we have but it depends upon the selectors.he got selected earlier but our poor defending captain Afridi did not gave him chance at all.In domestic we have couple of very very talented players like Uman(in place of Azhar),Sadaf(in place of Chemma),Babar Azam,Raza Hassan(in place of Abdul rehman).I think these players will add new blood in our struggling team.But old guns for test and give youngsters chance in ODI and T20.Its big challange for selectors to select right player for right format which they r failing to do for last couple of series.

    • huddini17 on March 11, 2012, 4:10 GMT

      willow tv or ten cricket gonna show these games?

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