Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup 2016, Mirpur March 1, 2016

Pakistan seek to clear path to final


Match facts

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1330 GMT)

Tamim Iqbal will likely return to the XI in place of Mohammad Mithun © AFP

Big Picture

Teams are getting close to that stage of the Asia Cup when a place in the final is the only thing in their mind. Pakistan, who opened their account against UAE on Monday night after getting walloped by India, have a lot to do, and the first thing will be to beat Bangladesh, who are ahead of them by two points after their wins over UAE and Sri Lanka, and will have a clearer path to the final if they can win this contest.

Bangladesh were on fire against Sri Lanka, putting aside their T20 conservatism and taking the game by the collar. Sabbir Rahman's brilliant 80 off 54 balls led the way, with Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah providing a fine finish. With the ball, Shakib did well again while Mashrafe Mortaza, Al-Amin Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman bowled critical overs with much confidence to stop Sri Lanka from overtaking their mediocre score.

The last of those names, Mustafizur, is missing due to a side strain, which will be a big blow to the home side. Mustafizur took two wickets on debut against Pakistan last year and has been bowling well lately too. On the other hand, Bangladesh's batting will be bolstered by the return of Tamim Iqbal, after he returned to Dhaka from Bangkok where his wife gave birth to their first child. Tamim is in form too, having made 267 runs in six innings during the PSL last month.

Pakistan will bank a lot on their bowling attack, especially Mohammad Amir who lit up the Asia Cup with his spells against India and UAE. They will expect more from the likes of Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Irfan, and the left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz, who was tonked around the park by UAE.

Pakistan's main concern will be their batting line-up, particularly their top order, which did not do well in the first two matches. Much will depend on Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik, and on Shahid Afridi and Sarfraz Ahmed down the order.

There is every chance of this being an excellent contest now that the Mirpur curator Gamini Silva is dishing out better pitches.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
Bangladesh WWLLL
Pakistan WLLLW

Watch out for

Umar Akmal made sure of Pakistan's two points against UAE in their last game, and he did that in style, reaching his eighth T20I fifty in the process. He has, however, made only 20 runs in the two innings he has played against Bangladesh in this format.

There is very little left to say about Mashrafe Mortaza's leadership, but he will want to improve his wicket count against Pakistan in T20Is, having taken just two wickets in seven matches against them.

Team news

Tamim Iqbal will return to the XI, most likely in place of Mohammad Mithun, while Abu Hider could replace the injured Mustafizur Rahman.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Al-Amin Hossain, 10 Abu Hider, 11 Taskin Ahmed

Pakistan could take out Khurram Manzoor and include Imad Wasim but there is unlikely to be any place for Anwar Ali.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Sharjeel Khan, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Khurram Manzoor, 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Shahid Afridi (capt), 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Mohammad Sami, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Mohammad Nawaz, 11 Mohammad Irfan

Pitch and conditions

There will still be something for the seamers in the Mirpur pitch but it won't be as exaggerated as it was in the first few matches. There is no forecast of rain on Wednesday evening.

Stats and trivia

  • In the last encounter between these two sides, Sabbir Rahman scored a fifty that he still reckons is his best T20I knock.
  • Mohammad Hafeez is 30 runs behind Umar Akmal as Pakistan's highest scorer in T20Is while Shakib Al Hasan needs 55 more runs to become the first Bangladesh batsman to reach 1000 T20I runs.


"In the last one year, he has scored thousand international runs. He has been our best at the top, so having someone of that calibre always helps."
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha on Tamim Iqbal's return

"The wickets here are a bit difficult. As the tournament is progressing, yesterday's wicket did not have much grass. So I think our players are confident."
Pakistan's interim bowling coach Azhar Mahmood about his side's level of confidence

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ami on March 2, 2016, 17:36 GMT

    I finally warned pcb if thy do want success should bring back fawad alam in all format of the game, he is only consistent performer in the game compare to current lot his record in very short career shows

  • M.G. on March 2, 2016, 15:17 GMT

    Without Mustafiz Ban got Pak 129/ 7; now they can get the job done next, and think about Ind in the final. Amir can do only so much in the chase. Ban players already know him from his BPL plus PSL games, so not that worry.

  • Protap on March 2, 2016, 15:14 GMT

    It was absolutely clear Hafeez was not out; wrong decision by the umpire. The ball would go over the stumps.

  • Bishwajit on March 2, 2016, 15:10 GMT

    Good recovery from the Pakistani Batsmen. We have missed Mustafizur Rahman in the slog overs. Still I should say this was a good show from the Bangladeshi Bowling unit, specially they did outstanding effort 1st half of the Pakistani innings. Now the Bangladeshi batsmen need to play sensible cricket according to the match condition. Good luck Tigers.

  • Sri on March 2, 2016, 14:35 GMT

    Finally run rate over 4 after twelve overs for Pakistan. Some backbone indeed, the finals look to be surely between India and Bangladesh!!

  • Bishwajit on March 2, 2016, 14:14 GMT

    Pakistan after 6 overs at the Asia Cup: vs India - 32/3 vs UAE - 26/3 vs Bangladesh - 20/3 vs Srilanka - any guess?

  • Sri on March 2, 2016, 14:03 GMT

    Cool, 18/3 already in five overs. Impulsive Pakistan or implosive? Hopefully someone shows a backbone this time around.

  • muhammad on March 2, 2016, 13:22 GMT

    I guess first toss win for shahid afradi in this tournament. we can expect Pakistan team to win one sided. they have better bowling attend to defend even modest total on board. further this is pressure game for both teams and chasing in second innings is always difficult in a pressure game. later at night, spin cal also play a major role

  • Deepak on March 2, 2016, 13:21 GMT

    @BALU-Jgec - if only all fans were as fine as you,no one would whine on some of the SL, BD and PAK fans. The problem with them is they just dont respect other teams and especially the India team. Not sure what wrong we as Indian fans have done to them. With all good spirits from an indian fan. Good luck to the Asian teams. Hope cricket wins wherever it is played rather than hatred comments and absurd fan comments from all country supporters.

  • Bishwajit on March 2, 2016, 13:21 GMT

    I'm not very much happy with the team selection of BD. Asian teams are always good against spin bowling. Including Arafat Sunny isn't a good selection I think when we have already two spinners (Shakib & Mahmudullah). Including Nasir Hossain instead of Arafat Sunny would be a good decision. Nasir hossain is definitely pretty handsome with his batting & fielding capability, his part time bowling capability also I should mention. Anyway, lets see what's gonna happen in the field. Good luck Bangladesh & good luck Pakistan as well.

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