LAHORE: Pakistan will take on Bangladesh today in the first match of Super 4 round of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023 at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
The hosts finished at the top of the points table in Group A with three points and a net run rate of 4.76 while Bangladesh were placed second in Group B with two points.
The Babar Azam-led team are playing their third match of the tournament and second in Pakistan. The opening game of the tournament between Pakistan and Nepal was played in Multan, while the Pakistan vs India blockbuster match, which was washed out, was played in Palekelle.
Faheem in, Nawaz out
Meanwhile, the green shirts have announced their playing XI for today’s encounter, including fast-bowling all-rounder Fahim Ashraf in place of Mohammad Nawaz.
Nawaz had an unproductive outing in Pakistan’s match against India, which ended without a result due to rain. He remained wicketless, conceding 55 runs in his eight overs against India. In the game against Nepal, Nawaz managed to claim one wicket for 13 runs in his two overs.
Faheem, who last appeared in an ODI last month against Afghanistan, brings his all-round capabilities to the team. He took two wickets in his eight overs in that match. The remainder of the playing XI remains unchanged from the previous match.
It will be the first ODI meeting between the two sides since the 2019 World Cup.
In ODIs, Bangladesh have beaten Pakistan four times in their last five meetings. The two sides last played against each other in the World Cup 2019, when Pakistan won by 94 runs.
Pakistan have dominated the rivalry in Tests and T20Is, but those results will have little bearing on today’s match since the 50-overs format is where Bangladesh are at their strongest.
Bangladesh, have, however, been weakened by injuries to key players. They are now also without Najmul Hossain Shanto, their most in-form batter. But they’re a smart, experienced group who know their way around ODI cricket, and they’re familiar with the conditions with Lahore, having pulled off a rousing win there over Afghanistan on Sunday.
Fakhar Zaman — a matter of concern
The lack of form of opener Fakhar Zaman is a cause for concern for Pakistan. Since scoring three 100s on the bounce against New Zealand in May, Fakhar has made 19, 14, 33, 2, 30, 27 and 14 in his last seven ODI innings.
If he gets in against Bangladesh, he’ll try his hardest to make sure he stays in.
Shoriful Islam has a terrific record after 19 ODIs, with 30 wickets at an average of 24.93. The left-arm quick is fresh off a three-wicket haul against Afghanistan and could cause Pakistan’s top-order problems if he can get the new ball moving around.
Litton Das, who has recovered from the illness that kept him out of the group stage, is expected to walk back into the top order in place of Shanto. It will be interesting to see if he opens, or if Mehidy Hasan Miraz remains there after his century against Afghanistan.
Pitch and weather conditions
With the temperature remaining less than 30 degrees Celsius in Lahore, the weather is expected to be hot and dry. Today’s match is expected to be a high-scoring one as the Gaddafi Stadium pitch is batting-friendly. The last five ODIs here produced three 300-plus first-innings totals.
Pakistan had never suffered defeat at the hands of Bangladesh on home soil. They have won each of their meetings in 11 ODIs, five Tests and three T20Is.
Moreover, Mohammad Rizwan is one catch short of 50 as a keeper in ODIs. He has also taken 12 catches as a fielder.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf.
Bangladesh (probable): Mohammad Naim, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Towhid Hridoy, Shamim Hossain, Afif Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud. with input from agencies