Pakistan’s World Cup performance has gone from bad to worse recently. The team can hope that a win over their arch-rivals Bangladesh will give them momentum. Bangladesh, for their part, are renowned for not giving anything away. It especially matters as they come to play at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, their natural home base in India. Pakistan’s seamers have done a decent job this year, whereas their spinners still need to provide more substantial quality.
Bangladesh, for their part, need to bat better than they have done throughout the tournament. They also must keep most of the pressure from their skipper, Shakib Al Hasan. The game will be quite an exciting clash, given the composition of the two teams. Babar Azam’s side seem to be on the downturn after their crushing loss to South Africa when everyone at Chepauk thought they were about to win. Bangladesh will fancy themselves over Pakistan.
Probable Playing XIs
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam Ul Haq, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf.
Bangladesh: Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Towhid Hridoy, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam.
Babar Azam: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has contributed when his team has needed him, but he has not quite got the big runs one expects from him. The Pakistan fans have been unable to see him play match-winning knocks, which will drive him in this game.
Mahmudullah Riyad: Creating a sensation by giving statements midway through the tournament about disrespect he got from his teammates, Mahmudullah knows he adds a lot of quality to this Bangladesh side later in the middle order.
Bangladesh will consider themselves to be the favourites to win this game. Pakistan have not been in good form of late. However, one can always expect them to come back, especially when they have yet to be at their best. Bangladesh will feel that a win here will boost their prospects of qualifying for the semifinals.