back icon


With different objectives & similar fortunes, Bangladesh meet Pakistan in subcontinental clash

Last updated on 30 Oct 2023 | 03:29 PM
Google News IconFollow Us
With different objectives & similar fortunes, Bangladesh meet Pakistan in subcontinental clash

Pakistan still have a chance to reach 10 points, which lends them a mathematical chance but Bangladesh are out of contention

Barring the language, Pakistan and Bangladesh share a number of common attributes. Their World Cup campaigns also see many common narratives. Separated by only two points, Pakistan have lost four games in a row while Bangladesh have lost five. Both sides have been marred by their key players underperforming. And their batting frailties have been exposed on grounds of being outdated and inadequate

Pakistan still have a chance to reach 10 points, which lends them a mathematical chance. Bangladesh, however, are out of contention with their 87-run defeat against the Netherlands.

Yet, there is no dead rubber in this competition. A late announcement from the ICC stating that the top eight teams in this World Cup will qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy has sparked a new motivation for these underperforming teams. Bangladesh skipper, Shakib Al Hasan, has already said the team has a lot to play for with the Champions Trophy spot in contention. 

Things to watch out for 

Clock ticking for Litton and Babar

In an underperforming batting lineup, both Pakistan and Bangladesh have been marred by poor returns from their experienced top-order players. Bangladesh were relying on Litton Das to guide the likes of Tanzid Hasan and Najmul Shanto while Babar Azam was supposed to be the nucleus for other Pakistan batters to revolve around. 

Both batters have mediocre numbers when compared to other top-order batters in the competition. For an opener, Litton is still short on 200 runs in the World Cup after six innings. Barring 76 against England and 66 against India, Litton has scores of 13, 0, 22, 3. 

Babar has been following an outdated template where he has suffered on the strike rate and average metric while also failing to convert his starts. After a strike rate of 80.8 in the first 20 balls, his scoring rate drops to 68.3 over the course of the next 40 balls. Both sides need an uplift in batting numbers to win the remaining three games and will hugely depend on their experienced pros at the top of the order. 

Will Mahmudullah bat up the order? 

Batting in the lower order - at six, seven and eight - Mahmudullah has emerged as the highest run-scorer for Bangladesh in this World Cup thus far. His tally of 218 runs is 38 more than the next best, Litton Das. He averages 72.7, including the only hundred for Bangladesh in the tournament. There is a clear case for him to bat up the order. 

Against the Netherlands, Mahmudullah was left with too much to do alongside the tail and perished with the asking rate crossing six. Bangladesh have moved him up from #7, #8 to #6. Given the indifferent form of their young batters, Tanzid and Najmul, and even Shakib, will Mahmudullah bat higher in the order? 

Ground Details and Conditions

The Eden Gardens in Kolkata witnessed a low-scoring first game where both slides were bundled out, scoring 371 runs between them in 92.2 overs. Only five of these wickets were picked by spinners. The pacers accounted for 13 wickets. 

There was extra bounce in the surface under lights as the Dutch seamers snapped five wickets, pulling their length back to the good, back-of-a-length and short ball region. 

However, Kolkata is a good four-scoring venue, thanks to the rapid outfield and a number of practice pitches near the ropes. Both sides are more suited to hitting fours than sixes and we should see more runs in this fixture than in the Netherlands’ victory.

Tactical Insights

> The back of a length has kept Shakib quiet in the tournament. All of his four dismissals against the right-arm pacers this tournament have been generated by that length. Haris Rauf has had a timid World Cup, but he is the perfect bowler to exploit this caveat in Shakib’s game. 

> Babar has struggled to break free against spinners in this World Cup. He averages 47 at a strike rate of 111.9 against pace but both numbers come down to 28.3 and 63.5, respectively, against spinners. Bangladesh don’t have any wrist-spinners that has fetched the Pakistan skipper thrice. However, they can target him with off-spinners with short mid-wicket in place. 

Babar has been caught in that region several times while trying to find runs against slower bowlers. 

Probable XIs

Both teams can ring in a few changes owing to several players not stepping up. Pakistan can ponder bringing in Fakhar Zaman in place of Imam ul Haq if the former has recovered from a knee injury. If Hasan Ali is fit, they can think about playing four pacers, dropping Mohammad Nawaz. 

Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam Ul Haq/Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam ( c ), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz/Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf

Bangladesh: Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das, Mehidy Hasan, Najmul Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan ( c ), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan/Tanzim Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Musytafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam

Related Article