Monday, November 28, 2011

Bangladesh look to break Pakistan's momentum

Pakistan begins its first full tour of Bangladesh with a one-off T20 International against the home side at Dhaka on Tuesday. Pakistan are riding high on their impressive win against Sri Lanka across all formats. On the other hand, Bangladesh have shown glimpses of talent but are a side struggling to make a lasting impression, often falling away at crucial times.

An unusual serenity and calmness surrounded the Pakistan team when it arrived in Dhaka. Usually embroiled in controversies, Misbah’s men have looked a calm and collected unit off late. The fans alike have started believing in the team, even more so after coming out on top of difficult situations in the recent series win against Sri Lanka.

The team flew directly from UAE, and only injuries have brought changes to the squad. All-rounder Abdul Razzaq and left-arm pacer Junaid Khan will both miss the tour due to injuries. Fast bowler Mohammed Khalil has come in the side. Skipper Misbah has indicated that they will field a full-strength side, rubbishing any impressions that they are taking Bangladesh lightly. The task will not be easy for their opposition, with Pakistan boasting of the three highest wicket-takers in T20 International history.

Bangladesh have made improvements through leaps and bounds in recent years. At times they take the world by a storm, while at others, even their staunchest supporters are left saving face. The team should use the recent win against West Indies in the T20 as a morale-boosting example and continue to believe that they can, on their given day, overcome even the best sides in the world. And realistically, the T20 format presents their best chance at achieving so.

In terms of their squad, former captain and experienced batsman Mohammad Ashraful has been axed owing to consistently poor performances. All-rounder Farhad Reza returns to the national side after three years, during which he signed with the breakaway Indian Cricket League and was thus banned by the BCB. Wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim will lead the side, and Shakib al Hassan will pose the greatest threat to the opposition.

The two sides have met four times in the shortest format of the game, with Pakistan winning each time.

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