KOLKATA, March 15: Pakistan and Bangladesh are trying to make a mark in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20. The two will begin their campaign at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday. Pakistan are yet to live up to their expectation in the shortest format after having finished runners-up to India in 2007, the inaugural year in South Africa, and winning the cup two years later in England.Thereafter, Pakistan stopped winning any ICC tournament at the senior level. The team’s discomfiture at the recently concluded Asia Cup in Bangladesh was another grim reminder to their sliding reputation. The team’s high, of course, was winning the ICC World Cup in 1992 under Imran Khan.
This side, captained by Shahid Afridi, is in search of the winning formula to make a big splash. To start with Pakistan can look to avenge the Asia Cup defeat against Bangladesh.
Bangladesh have made remarkable strides in international cricket. Their annihilation of two sub-continental giants, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, en route to the Asia Cup final against the ultimate winner India, speaks highly of their progress in the sport.
Yet, Bangladesh had to qualify to super 10 stage. The best part of this qualifying meet was Bangladesh got to play a couple of matches before taking on Pakistan in the main round. Pakistan will enter the field with just one practice game which they won against defending champions Sri Lanka.
In-form Tamim Iqbal, aggressive Soumya Sarkar, experienced Mushfiqur Rahim, allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, elegant Sabbir Rahman and finisher Mahamudullah will form the team’s batting.
But for the injury to Mustafiqur Rahman, Bangladesh would have been in a better position to take on the big guns. Even without him, the side has the likes of Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain (pace bowling), Shakib, Mahamudullah and Arafat Sunny (spin) to restrict the opposition. Mashrafe Mortaza is an experienced captain to lead the side.
Pakistan are a rare combination of youth and experience. Muhammad Hafeez batted well against Lanka. Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal will throw their weight in batting. Muhammed Amir, Irfan, Sami and Wahab Riaz will lead the pace attack. Left-arm orthodox Imad Wasim was very impressive against Lanka and on slow Indian wickets he could be the trump card for Afridi.
Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Arafat Sunny, Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rehman, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan, Al-Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed, Mohammed Mithun, Mustafizur Rahman.
Shahid Afridi (c), Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Mallik, Mohammad Irfan, Sharjeel Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Sami, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Amir, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Khurram Manzoor.
MATCH BEGINS AT 3 PM