Tigers face off Pakistan for new start after T20 WC shamble

  |  Thursday, November 18th, 2021 |  4:33 pm

Bangladesh are keen to bounce back from the Twenty20 World Cup shamble as they take on visiting Pakistan in the first of
three-match series of the shortest format of the cricket at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium tomorrow (Friday).

The match which will be aired live on Gazi TV and T Sports starts at 2 PM. For the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19, fans will be allowed to enter into the stadium to enjoy the game but they need to be vaccinated and aged over 18, reports BSS.

The team that Bangladesh will field will be a completely new look from the one that played in the T20 World Cup recently. As many as six players were called up including four new comers in response to catastrophic performances in the global event in which Bangladesh failed to register any victory in the Super 12s. The side also experienced a shock defeat to Scotland in the qualifying round before huffed and puffed their way to play the Super 12s, beating Oman and Papua New Guinea.

For the first time in many years, Bangladesh will be without their three stalwarts in the game-Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal were unavailable due to injuries and Mushfiqur Rahim was rested. The only senior player in the side remains Mahmudullah Riyad who retained his captaincy despite a poor outing in
the World Cup.

From the World Cup party, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar and Rubel Hossain were left out and allrounder Saifuddin missed the series due to his recurring back pain.

Najmul Hossain Shanto and Aminul Islam Biplob were recalled while Under-19 World Cup winning captain Akbar Ali, Saif Hassan, Yasir Ali Chowdhury and pacer Shohidul Islam made the cut as fresh bloods in this format.

The sweeping changes were predicted but little did anyone anticipate such a complete overhaul to the side. Chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu made it clear they want to make a new start in this format and so such a huge number of players were given chance.

“We had to bring some changes to make a turnaround in the upcoming series as we had a disastrous World Cup campaign,” Abdein said, adding that, “l hope those who got the call up are well prepared for the international arena.”

But the question is: can they make a turnaround as they are expecting?

Pakistan are an inform side despite losing the semifinal to eventual champion Australia in the T20 World Cup. Barring one bad game in the knock out phase, they won all of their matches in the Group phase, including first ever World Cup win against archrivals India.

Winning even a one game in the three-match series against Pakistan will be a tougher job but Bangladesh could find the motivation from the past. The last two times they faced off Pakistan in this format at home, they won those two games-in 2015 in a one-off T20 match in a bilateral series and in 2016 Asia Cup.

Bangladesh also won the last two T20 series against Australia and New Zealand at home although the pitch was heavily criticized for being extremely slow and low. It is expected, in series against Pakistan, a sporting wicket will be prepared. This will be however Pakistan’s first bilateral series in Bangladesh’s soil after 2015 and first visit here after 2016. Despite losing the last two T20s here, they will be oozing with confidence, largely due to their World Cup show. Overall they held the edge over Bangladesh in this format winning 10 in 12 matches.

Moreover Tigers’ stat in T20 cricket is not up to the mark. They so far played 120 matches and won 43. They had lost a staggering number of 75 matches while two matches fetched no result.

But Najmul Hossain Shanto, one of the recalled players, said the familiarity with the Pakistani players due to play with them in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) will give them an edge.

“Pakistan is one of the best teams in world cricket. We have had the opportunity to play with and against several Pakistani players in the BPL. From that point of view, we are confident since we have dealt with those bowlers, or bowled against those batters. Every team is good in world cricket. We don’t have to think that we will do much better, what we will do is to just watch the ball and play.”