Bangladesh target turnaround in form against UAE
Friday, February 26, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1330 GMT)
Careful when you research recent form with regard to this match. You'll find Bangladesh have lost three Twenty20 internationals on the bounce, while UAE have won three of their last four T20Is. The condensed nature of T20 cricket may diminish the gap between a Full Member and an Associate - one big over from a batsman or one little over from a bowler can turn the entire match - but as well as UAE have played to get here, a fourth win in the Asia Cup for them and a fourth loss for Bangladesh seems unlikely.
But Amjad Javed will ask his men to concentrate on the basics so they can capitalise on the what if's. What if Bangladesh drop a catch again? Their loss to India can be traced back to the point where Rohit Sharma got his reprieve. What if their top-order doesn't fire again? Sabbir Rahman benefited from a half-chance going down, but could not capitalise.
UAE are also on a proper high; last week they beat Ireland for the first time in over a decade and used that momentum to topple Afghanistan as well. The main round of the Asia Cup brought the high-rollers to their party and Sri Lanka, after a little careless gambling, cleaned them out.
Bangladesh are making some bold bets themselves: the occasional green pitch, four fast bowlers, a hitter among the top three in their line-up to suit T20 needs. Their fielding took the shine away from an improved understanding of the shortest format, but luckily for them, changing that is firmly in their hands.
(Last five completed matches)
Watch out for
Tall, broad-shouldered and hungry for success, Taskin Ahmed has been one of those outright fast bowlers that teams from the subcontinent go gaga over. Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has been keen to develop a pace attack that can win matches and Taskin is among those who has responded well to being empowered.
If he's not being busy with the bat for UAE on the cricket field, Mohammad Usman would be busy working at UAE Exchange. It's only been a year since he started playing the game in the local leagues back home and just about a month since his promotion to the national side, but with the confidence of his captain and his support staff, Usman is their designated late-order enforcer.
Bangladesh are likely to bench Imrul Kayes and the choice could be between Nurul Hasan, who did reasonably well against Zimbabwe last month, and Nasir Hossain, who was dropped for that series.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Soumya Sarkar, 2 Mohammad Mithun, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Taskin Ahmed, 10 Al-Amin Hossain, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
UAE are trying to rebuild their a new core of players since the retirements of Khurram Khan, Mohammad Tauqir and Saqib Ali. They got through the qualifying tournament without too much shuffling of personnel, but the loss to Sri Lanka may prompt a rethink.
UAE (probable) 1 Muhammad Kaleem, 2 Rohan Mustafa, 3 Shaiman Anwar, 4 Mohammad Shahzad, 5 Mohammad Usman, 6 Amjad Javed (capt), 7 Saqlain Haider, 8 Swapnil Patel (wk), 9 Qadeer Ahmed/ Farhan Ahmed, 10 Ahmed Raza, 11 Mohammad Naveed
Pitch and conditions
The odd ball has seamed about at Shere Bangla stadium, with the groundsmen keeping some grass on the pitch, mainly to hold it together. The weather is set to be fair in Dhaka on Friday.
Stats and trivia
- Mohammad Naveed is one of only six bowlers to have an economy rate below six with a minimum of 40 overs bowled in T20Is. His 5.92 puts him behind Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine and Daniel Vettori.
- Sabbir Rahman averages 38.94 at No. 3 in all T20s, as opposed to his overall average of 29.34
"UAE has played the best cricket in their level and come [to the Asia Cup's main event]. We have to perform professionally and win this match. Yesterday [against India] we played till a certain period but we have to do better tomorrow. We have watched UAE's video clips we have a good enough idea about them."
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza about their approach against the UAE
"The bowlers will get a boost [from helpful pitches] and will want to do well and when the batsmen see the bowlers performing and restricting a team like Sri Lanka under 130, they'll want to perform well to. So definitely they'll come back tomorrow and I hope they will do well."
UAE captain Amjad Javed keeps faith in his team's abilities
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo