Bangladesh v UAE, Group A, Lahore June 23, 2008

Defeat-ridden Bangladesh seek turnaround

Match facts

Tuesday June 24, 2008
Start time 16.00 (10.00 GMT)

UAE return to one-dayers four years after their previous Asia Cup campaign, under a new captain Saqib Ali © Emirates

Big Picture

Tournament openers usually feature two high-profile teams giving it their best to set the tone for the coming weeks, but the fixture tomorrow at the Gaddafi Stadium will struggle to live up to that billing. It won't be fair to call Bangladesh minnows, especially after their two spectacular upsets in the last World Cup, but recent form indicates they have plenty of catching up to do. After thumping a dazed South Africa in Providence last May, reality hit them hard with 14 consecutive losses. A 3-0 clean sweep at home against Ireland turned out to be only a temporary respite, as they now find themselves on a seven-match losing streak. Bangladesh, who have everything to lose, will expect nothing less than a big win to reverse the trend and make the second round.

UAE, incidentally, last played official international cricket in the 2004 Asia Cup. Their solitary ODI win came 12 years ago, against Netherlands in their maiden World Cup appearance. After clinching the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 title in December, beating neighbours Oman, they slumped to four defeats in the Pro Arch trophy at home in March, against English counties. Traditionally a team of Asian expats, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has imposed a quota system to encourage more home-grown talent by including four locals in the squad.

Form guide

(most recent first)
Bangladesh LLLLL
UAE LLWLL (one-day internationals only)

Watch out for...

Saqib Ali: The UAE captain, originally from Pakistan, was the only bright spot in UAE's recent Intercontinental Cup campaign, which included one win in seven games. Saqib was the overall leading run-scorer with 690 runs in seven games at 57.50. A handy off-break bowler, he was the leading wicket-taker for UAE in the Pro Arch trophy with six wickets in four games.

Raqibul Hassan: Just nine one-dayers old, Raqibul has already made a name for himself as a steady middle-order batsman with the ability to graft and build an innings. He impressed with 63 in his second one-dayer, against South Africa, and in the Kitply Cup enhanced his reputation with 89 against India. His knock - which took Bangladesh to a respectable total - was incidentally the best for a Bangladesh batsman against India.

Team news

Bangladesh are likely to stick to the same line-up as in their previous game at the Kitply Cup against India. However, the form of their medium pacers - Farhad Reza, Dolar Mahmud and Shahadat Hossain - is a cause for worry as all leaked runs in excess of 7.50 runs per over in the tournament.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Nazimuddin, 3 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Alok Kapali, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Farhad Reza , 9 Mashrafe Mortaza, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Dolar Mahmud

UAE (From) Saqib Ali (capt), Fahad Alhashmi, Alawi Shukri, Aman Ali, Amjad Ali (wk), Amjad Javed, Arshad Ali, Indika Batuwitarachchi, Nizel Fernandes, Khurram Khan, Mohammad Tauqir, Salman Farooq, Shadeep Silva, Vikrant Shetty, Zahid Shah

Pitch and conditions

Following heavy rains last week, the weather in Lahore is fortunately sunny and pleasant. Batsmen have enjoyed the surface at the Gaddafi Stadium, with an average run-rate of 5.46 in day-night games over the last five years.

Stats and Trivia

  • In UAE's 15-member squad, only three players - Khurram Khan, Mohammad Tauqir and Arshad Ali - have played one-day internationals.

  • Bangladesh's 285 for 7 in Lahore in April is their highest team total in ODIs away from home.

  • Arshad Ali and Khurram Khan were the leading wicket-takers for UAE in the ICC Intercontinental Cup with 17 wickets each. Khurram captained UAE in the 2004 Asia Cup.

  • UAE lost both games in the 2004 edition, to India and Sri Lanka, by the identical margin of runs - 116.


    "We'll take it one game at a time. We are definitely stronger than UAE and we know that a win on Tuesday would take us into the next round. We are very confident."
    Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, fires his opening salvo.

    "We have been beaten but against the likes of India, Pakistan and South Africa who are very, very good sides. Players like Raqibul (Hassan) and Ashraful and others who are following the team rule are playing better and we are on track I believe. We are probably not bowling as well as we can."
    Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, draws positives from his team's recent losing streak.

    "I have confidence in the team. A coach can make a strategy and plan but the players have to execute in the ground which was important."
    Vasbert Drakes, the UAE coach, states the expected.

    Kanishkaa Balachandran is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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