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The Preview by Siddhartha Talya
November 29, 2011
This time, Bangladesh's opponents are a team on a high and significantly superior to those they played in the lead-up to this bilateral series. Bangladesh claimed wins in dead rubbers against Zimbabwe and West Indies - not a great consolation since they were expected to do much better - and caught a glimpse of what they might be up against during their big defeat in the Twenty20 international at the start of this tour.
Though Bangladesh's bowlers were largely economical, Pakistan's batsmen gave their own bowling attack enough runs to defend on a tricky pitch in Mirpur. In their chase, Bangladesh stagnated, losing wickets early, hitting their first boundary as late as the ninth over and showing little resistance against the variations of Pakistan's bowlers, including Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Shoaib Malik. Not only do Pakistan have quicker bowlers, their spinners can be just as effective in Bangladeshi conditions. It's a tall order for the hosts to spring a surprise in the three one-day games but they are playing where they play best, and it remains to be seen how strong a challenge they present.
In the spotlight...
Shoaib Malik will be under pressure. He's not been in great touch since his return to international cricket, after being cleared by the PCB's integrity committee. His scores in his last six international innings read: 7, 11, 2, 0, 2* and 2. While part of a team on the upswing, his own form has been on the decline and another couple of failures won't augur well for his selection prospects.
Bangladesh (possible) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Shahriar Nafees/Alok Kapali, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Naeem Islam, 8 Nasir Hossain, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Malik's troubles might begin with the return of Younis Khan, who didn't play the Twenty20 game.
Pakistan (possible) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Asad Shafiq, 5 Umar Akmal (wk), 6 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Abdul Razzaq/Sohail Tanvir, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Aizaz Cheema.
Stats and trivia
"If it's a spinning wicket we have spinners, if it's not then we also have good fast bowlers."
Pakistan batsman Younis Khan
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