Having registered back-to-back victories, Bangladesh are expected to put up a tough fight against Pakistan in their Asia Cup Twenty20 encounter on Wednesday.
It will be a must-win game for both teams aiming to make it to the finals of the continental championship ahead of the ICC World Twenty20. Here’s a look at the key battles you should be looking out for.
1- The clash of the openers:
When it comes to openers, we have a battle between two class-acts. It’s Bangladesh’s tried and tested opener Tamim Iqbal, who will be up against his Peshawar Zalmi team mate, the Pakistan’s Professor Mohammad Hafeez.
Tamim is coming after a long lay-off, as he just returned from Bangkok after spending time with his family, so it will be interesting to see how he will perform on pitches where there is some assist for bowlers early on.
On the other hand, Hafeez is going through a rough patch form with the bat, as he was dismissed for four and 11 in his last two innings, which shows that he is feeling the pressure to perform, especially when the young-guns are finding it hard to deliver on the big stage.
The opener who will come on top will give a great advantage to their team in the battle today.
2- The clash of the all-rounders:
When it comes to all-rounders, it will be a showdown between two experienced professionals. It will be Bangladesh’s former captain Shakibal Hasan, who will go up against his Karachi Kings teammate and former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik.
Both all-rounders are coming into this match on the back of match-winning performances in their previous outing.
3- The clash of the captains:
When it comes down to captains, it will be Bangladesh most successful captain Mashrafe Mortaza, who will be up against Pakistan’s very own Boom Boom Shahid Afridi.
Mashrafe had an amazing last year as a captain in ODIs, where he guided his team to World Cup quarter-finals, and then to series victories over Pakistan, India and South Africa on the home soil.
Contrary to that, Shahid Afridi had an extremely poor run as a captain in the last few months, where Pakistan suffered consecutive series loss against England and New Zealand.
It will be a battle of nerves, and the leader who will keep his calm will lead his side toward the victory.
Shakib turned up with bat and ball in the victory against Sri Lanka, where he scored a rapid cameo in the end of Bangladesh innings and picked two crucial wickets for the Tigers.
On the other hand, Malik played a match winning knock of 63 not out, which helped Pakistan earn their first victory against minnows UAE.
This battle will set the tone for the victorious team tonight.
4- The clash of the wicketkeepers:
For the player behind the stumps, it will be an amazing contest between two extremely smart players.
The battle will be between Bangladesh former captain Mushfiqur Rahim and Pakistan’s probable future captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
Both cricketers have the never-say-die attitude, which sets them apart from the rest of the squad, and that’s why they can prove to be the real difference in the result of the all-important match.
5- The clash of the rising stars:
Last but not least, it will be a battle between the two rising stars of the game. It will be Bangladesh’s middle-order batsman Sabbir Rahman, who will go up-against Pakistan’s left-arm sensation Muhammad Amir. Both rising stars are tipped for greatness, and looking at the importance of the game, it will test their metal.
It will be interesting to see who out of both players will rise to the occasion and take his side home in an all important clash.