Can Bangladesh shake off T20 rust?
Friday, April 24, 2015
Start time 1830 local (1230 GMT)
Pakistan are among the most successful T20 sides while Bangladesh are 12th in terms of wins, but on current form the home team is the favourite going into the only Twenty20 international in Mirpur. Bangladesh have just swept the ODI series 3-0, and each of those victories were more one-sided than the previous one.
Bangladesh, however, have not played a T20 for more than a year. Their only match in this format after the World T20 at home was washed out in the West Indies in August last year. The Bangladesh Cricket Board has not staged a domestic T20 tournament since December 2013 either, so the players will need to adapt their ODI confidence and skills to the shorter format.
Pakistan have won the most T20 internationals. Shahid Afridi's side has T20 match-winners like Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir and Ahmed Shehzad. These players appear in domestic T20 tournaments around the world. Shehzad, Afridi and Tanvir are only part of the T20 side, while Gul and Ajmal have struggled so far in Bangladesh.
Pakistan may have won 50 out of 85 T20s, while Bangladesh only have 11 wins in 41 games, but the number the visitors will want to improve is their zero victories on this tour so far.
Bangladesh LLLLL (last five matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Shahid Afridi has often been Bangladesh's scourge, but will he be viewed differently now that the home side has finally had success against Pakistan? Afridi did not have a successful World Cup and is taking over the leadership of a team that has just suffered an unprecedented defeat. Will he be able to lift himself for one game, in the only format he plays internationally?
Soumya Sarkar bludgeoned the Pakistan bowlers in the third ODI for an unbeaten 127 off 110 balls, a perfect preparation for his T20 debut. He has a 100-plus strike-rate in domestic T20s, and is expected to open with Tamim Iqbal on Friday.
Bangladesh could include Litton Das or Rony Talukdar in place of Mahmudullah, who made just 26 runs in the ODIs and averages 14.65 in T20s. They could also take a chance on Mustafizur Rahman, the rookie left-arm pace bowler.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Mahmudullah/Litton Das/Rony Talukdar, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Sabbir Rahman, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Arafat Sunny, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Sohail Tanvir, a T20 specialist, is likely to replace Junaid Khan. Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has showed inclination towards picking newcomers ahead of established names in this series so far, so Mukhtar Ahmed could play instead of Mohammad Hafeez.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Haris Sohail, 4 Mohammad Rizwan, 5 Mukhtar Ahmed, 6 Shahid Afridi (capt), 7 Saad Nasim, 8 Sohail Tanvir, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Umar Gul
Pitch and conditions
An evening start doesn't mean conditions will be any different in Mirpur. The curator Gamini di Silva is likely to prepare another batting-friendly pitch with minimal turn.
Stats and trivia
- The top three wicket-takers in T20 internationals - Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi - are all in Pakistan's current squad.
- Shakib Al Hasan has a chance to overtake Abdur Razzak to become Bangladesh's highest T20 wicket-taker. They are currently level on 44 wickets.
- Mustafizur Rahman is yet to play a domestic T20 match.
"We haven't played a T20 for a long time. But our recent performance has made us positive. It is hard to adjust to this format and we have just one day to do so. We have to set individual plans and targets within this time."
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza
"We have a very good combination in T20. I am very positive and confident that we will do well."Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84