Pakistan eye return to winning ways in Bangladesh T20Is
Pakistan will be eyeing a return to winning ways when they will face Bangladesh in the three-match T20I series, starting from January 24 in Lahore.
There were a lot of doubts regarding the series and at one point, it seemed that things will not end up on a positive note.However, a long meeting in Dubai between both boards settled the issue which paved the way for the Tigers to return to Pakistan for the first time since 2008 Asia Cup.
In the series, the home team will enter as slight favorites, not because of recent form but largely because of their number-one ranking in the shortest format of the game.
However, the Men-in-Green will have to secure a 3-0 win against Bangladesh in the series to keep their top-spot intact after suffering back-to-back whitewashes against Sri Lanka and Australia.
The team will be led by star batsman Babar Azam who will have the services of experience duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to put more than decent runs on the board. Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail and Sarfaraz Ahmed have not been picked for this T20I series. Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan will be first choice wicket-keeper for the side for this home series.
On the bowling front, the home team will be without their star fast-bowler Mohammad Amir who was surprisingly dropped for the series despite having impressive numbers in the T20Is for the national team.
In his absence, Pakistan will be depending on the likes of young pace trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Muhammad Musa and spin duo of Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim to produce timely breakthroughs.
Other than them, one player who will be watched very closely is young pacer Haris Rauf who has been selected for the first after impressive performances for the Melbourne Stars in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia.
On the other hand, Bangladesh will be coming into the series on the back of some competitive cricket played in the last few months. The side competed well against India in the three-match T20I series played against India in November.Mahmudullah-led unit will be looking to do well on their first trip to Pakistan.
The big positives out of the T20I series in India were performances delivered by young players like Mohammad Naim and Aminul Islam.Hasan Mahmud and Nazmul Hossain Shanto have earned their comebacks to the national side for the Pakistan tour.
However, the players have been involved in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2019 edition which is why they will be rearing to go and produce their best show in Lahore.
The visitors will be led by veteran all-rounder Mahmudullah who will have the services of explosive openers Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar and wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Das to score bulk of the runs.
On the bowling front, Bangladesh will be relying on the pace trio of Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam to produce timely breakthroughs.
In the last five meeting in the shortest format of the game, it is advantage Pakistan who have emerged victorious three times compared to Bangladesh’s two wins.