Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 6 – Pakistan vs Bangladesh – Preview
Bangladesh and Pakistan will square off against each other in what will be a virtual semi-final on 26 September (Wednesday) to decide who will meet India in the Asia Cup final.
Meanwhile, the final group stage game has all to play for and the potential to set up an India-Pakistan final. But there’s nothing foregone about the virtual semifinal on Wednesday. Bangladesh after all, pulled off something similar just two years ago – beating Pakistan to make the final of Asia Cup 2016, where they eventually lost to India.
Asia Cup campaigns of Pakistan and Bangladesh have been inconsistent. Both teams winning and losing games by equally-massive margins and are both still alive thanks to their final-over wins over Afghanistan. Both teams have had encouraging individual performances but have struggled in the face of pressure.
The scheduling of the tournament afforded Bangladesh four off days after their opening game on September 15. However, they have then had to play three games in four days while also shuttling between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They have cooled their heels over the past couple of days though.
( MUST READ – Bangladesh VS Pakistan )
On the other hand, Pakistan’s itinerary has been slightly less taxing, but two outings against India have been morale-sapping.
As far as recent form is concerned, Bangladesh have the winning momentum on their side, having beaten the Afghans in their last game. However, a good start have imperative for every team, especially on surfaces that have slowed down with time. A lot will depend on the experienced shoulders of Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan should the openers fail again.
Pakistan, meanwhile, have their own issues to sort. They had a subpar fielding performance against India, which ensured they chase down the target with nine wickets in hand. The bowling also has not looked at its best since their first group-stage match against Hong Kong.
Pitch & Conditions
It will be hot and humid in Abu Dhabi ranging in the high 30s taking a toll on the cricketers. Furthermore, there are no chances of rains which will ensure an exciting game ahead.
Like Dubai, the pitch at Abu Dhabi to has slowed down with time and, as a result, batting will not be easy. Spin is likely to play a big role with the ball gripping and turning and the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Shadab Khan, and Mohammad Nawaz may have to come into the game sooner rather than later.
( MUST READ – Top run scorers of Asia Cup 2018 )
Both Pakistan and Bangladesh will be desperate to play their best cricket and set a date with India in the Asia Cup finals.
The Green Caps will have a lot of issues to sort. A sub-par fielding performance in their last outing ensured that India reached the target with ease.
The form of Mohammad Amir will also keep the think tank worried. However, the form of Shoaib Malik has kept them in the hunt and they will look to continue with it.
Predicted XI: Imam Ul Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi
Mashrafe Mortaza made it very clear in a press conference that he was in the dark about the mid-tournament reinforcements that were flown into Dubai a few days ago in the form of Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar.
He still played Kayes in the do-or-die Afghanistan fixture and benefitted from it.
Predicted XI: Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mehidy Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Namzul Islam
Bangladesh will have the momentum with their side which will slightly give them an edge over Pakistan. However, both the teams will start as they virtual favourites in the must-win encounter.
But, Pakistan, having played more this kind of matches have experience on their side. T
hus, Green Caps will start as the potential favourites to win this game and set the pinnacle clash with India.
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