All but out of semifinal race, Pakistan would be desperate to snap their four-match losing streak and add some semblance of respect to their floundering campaign when they take on an equally struggling Bangladesh in their do-or-die World Cup match here on Tuesday.
Pakistan have just four points in their kitty and they can add a maximum of six more to touch 10 by the end of league stage. Three teams are already above Pakistan and it would be a miracle of sorts if they make it to the knockout stage. The multiple favourable results are highly unlikely given the fact that Australia have regained their form and New Zealand have also emerged as one of the toughest sides to beat in this tournament.
As of today, India and South Africa look certain to make the cut while the Trans-Tasman rivals are looking in good shape to grab the other two spots for the semifinals.
Pakistan will not have to just win their remaining matches but they need to win with big margins to swell their net run rate (currently minus 0.205). A defeat against Bangladesh will certainly knock the 1992 champions out of the showpiece.
In such a scenario, it is expected that Pakistan players will go all-out and give their all.
At a time when their batters have failed to last the distance in four of their six outings, it’s Pakistan’s bowling attack that has shone through. On a seamer-friendly Eden wicket that offered some extra bounce from short of the length during the first match on Saturday, the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim will hope to hand Bangladesh the early blows.
Pakistan’s biggest positive is sparkling show by Mohammad Wasim junior who made his World Cup debut in place of an indisposed Hasan Ali against South Africa. Wasim returned with figures of 2/62 but the way he created pressure, especially at the death overs against Keshav Maharaj, was a big plus for the embattled side. Wasim is expected to retain his place as Pakistan would look to rattle the Bangladeshi batters who have been struggling in the tournament.
Pakistan’s biggest letdown has been their batters, who have failed to last the full quota of 50 overs on four occasions. The buck will certainly stop with skipper Babar Azam, their best batter, who has not been converting his starts into big scores. Babar has so far struck three fifties and he could be eyeing a big score against Bangladesh. On the other hand, all is not well in the Shakib Al Hasan-led Bangladesh camp. Their batters have failed to post big totals. In their previous match against the Netherlands, four of their top-six batters failed to score in double digits to be bundled out for 142 in a chase of 230.
It was their sixth defeat on the trot for the Bangla Tigers.
”You can say that it’s the worst World Cup without any doubt,” Shakib had admitted after their 87-run loss to the Netherlands here on Saturday.
”It is hard to swallow, very difficult to digest. But these things can happen in cricket.” Bangladesh have just two points from six matches and they are currently at ninth spot in the 10-team league.
The Teams (From): Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Wasim.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das (wk), Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib Match starts from 2pm IST.