Preview: Pakistan take on Bangladesh in crucial bout for semi-final spot
The equation isn't particularly simple for the two sides. A win in this contest alone won't guarantee either of them a spot in the semi-finals, but they also need the results from at least one of the other two matches tomorrow to go their way. Pakistan have four points to their name right now and their NRR has also increased significantly after their win against South Africa in the previous match. So, a victory in this contest against Bangladesh and either India or South Africa losing their respective matches tomorrow will clear the path for them to the semi-finals.
Babar Azam and his men didn't enjoy the best of starts to the campaign as they lost their first two matches to India and Zimbabwe. But they bounced back strongly and have registered comprehensive wins against Netherlands and South Africa since then. These victories have given them a lot of confidence and, with momentum on their side, they will be looking to deliver another strong performance here.
The performance of the top order has emerged as a bit of a concern for them but their middle order and an in-form bowling unit has kept the team going. It's high time now that the top order stepped up as well.
With Bangladesh, things aren't that simple either. Their NRR isn't as good as Pakistan, so they not only need to win this encounter but also need to do it by a big margin to stay in contention for the semis. Without a boost in their NRR, only a South African loss can clear their path to the semi-finals as India still have a significantly higher NRR.
The Tigers have delivered some spirited performances in this campaign, though. The last match against India was a prime example of that as they fell short by just five runs (DLS method). Barring the huge defeat to South Africa by 104 runs, Bangladesh have delivered competitive performances in all matches. The batting unit still has a lot of room for improvement but the bowlers have really delivered in crunch situations, and they will be looking to do the same in this must-win clash against Pakistan.
Predicted Playing XIs
Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Haris, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah
Najmul Hossain Shanto, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Afif Hossain, Yasir Ali, Mosaddek Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam
Shaheen Shah Afridi: The left-arm pacer made a strong impact in Pakistan's win against South Africa. Afridi gave Pakistan the breakthrough with the new ball, dismissing Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw in quick succession, and then came back in the final overs of the match to send Heinrich Klaasen back to the dugout. Batting against pacers isn't Bangladesh's strong suit and that's why Afridi could be a huge asset for Pakistan in this match.
Litton Das: The top-order batter blazed his way to a 27-ball knock of 65 in the last match against India. His knock ended up in a losing cause but he showed how well he can bat against quality bowling attacks. Das holds the key for Bangladesh in this match as well.
Dream11 Fantasy Picks
Captaincy Pick: Shadab Khan
The Pakistan all-rounder scored a quickfire 52 from just 22 balls, with the help of three fours and four sixes, against South Africa. Shadab also picked up the key wickets of Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram to finish with figures of 2/16 from his two overs. He has taken a total of eight wickets in four matches in this T20 World Cup. Overall, he has scored 456 runs at a strike rate of 143.84 and has grabbed 95 wickets at an average of 21.28 in 81 T20Is thus far. In six matches against Bangladesh, Shadab holds a commanding strike rate of 210 with the bat and has picked six wickets at an average of 26.16.
Must-have Pick: Shaheen Shah Afridi
Shaheen Shah Afridi can clock speeds over 140 kph, which can dismantle any opposition. Although he has picked only four wickets in four matches in the ongoing T20 World Cup, his ability to move and bounce the ball in Australian conditions cannot be ignored. Afridi has picked up 51 wickets in 44 T20Is, at an average of 24.29. In Pakistan's 33-run win over South Africa in Sydney, the left-arm speedster recorded his career-best figures of 3/14. Afridi has played three T20Is so far against Bangladesh and has claimed four wickets at an average of 15.
Differential Pick: Taskin Ahmed
Taskin Ahmed is the pick of the bowlers for Bangladesh, having picked eight wickets in the four matches he has played. The Bangladesh pacer has been very economical in this tournament, conceding 105 runs at an economy of 7.00, including best bowling figures of 4/25 versus the Netherlands. Taskin has accounted for 36 dismissals in the 45 T20Is he has played and has maintained a decent economy rate of 7.78 as well.
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