Tigers look to get the better of Pakistan again

16 March,2016

RTNN News Desk: A highly boosted Bangladesh will begin their second phase of the ICC World Twenty20 2016 against Pakistan at Eden Gardens in Kolkata today. Bangladesh are heading into the second round of the tournament backed by wins against the Netherlands and Oman.

The last time they met Pakistan in the T20 format – in the Asia Cup T20 earlier this month – the Tigers had registered a five-wicket victory to throw the opposition out of the tournament and set up a final date with India.

These facts have turned today's Bangladesh-Pakistan encounter into a thrilling one and bearing in mind the venue in West Bengal, the Tigers are expected to be backed well by the supporters.

According to Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe bin Mortaza, however, these details will hardly matter. Mashrafe believes history counts for little and only performance on the day will determine which side comes out on top.

Considering the condition at Eden Gardens, the Pakistan pace bowling attack is the biggest challenge awaiting the Tigers. But one good thing for Bangladesh is that they are getting back pace sensation Mustafizur Rahman for selection. But a final call will only be made this afternoon by the team management.

Meanwhile, fast bowler Taskin Ahmed, who was reported of a suspect bowling action, has joined the Tigers following his test in Chennai.

Bangladesh flew to Dharamsala for the qualifying round of the tournament only a day before the game. They adapted brilliantly with the chilly condition. But in Kolkata, it is going to be the total opposite. It is being said India as hosts will reserve extra advantage for the sub-continental teams but Bangladesh are not taking anything for granted. This is the first time in the last 10 years that the Tigers have visited India in spite of being the closest neighbours.

Pakistan's bowling attack, led by left-arm pacers, will be of obvious concern but opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, who is in brilliant touch, will be expected to offer strong resistance. Tamim has been key to Bangladesh’s flying success in the World T20 qualifiers, having scored 233 runs in three matches at an unbelievable average of 233, including two unbeaten innings.

Having played in the inaugural Pakistan Super League T20 last month, Tamim will have some ideas on Pakistani bowlers like Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan. He was in form in that tournament too and that should give him an edge.

His opening partner Soumya Sarkar has struggled but Sabbir Rahman at No 3 has been an absolute delight. The right-handed batsman is also in good momentum and has scored 72 runs in three first-round matches. All-rounder Shakib al Hasan had showed brief glimpses of finding himself back with a bold 17 not out against Oman and will be expected to deliver in the big game today. The four-wicket haul against the ICC Associate side should also boost Shakib, who is undoubtedly the most experienced Bangladesh campaigner in T20 cricket.

In contrast, Pakistan will be desperate to iron out the mistakes of the recent past. Pakistan's batting has been woeful in the Asia Cup T20 where they were shot out for a meagre 83 against India. Pakistan's strongest forte has been their bowling attack which is now being led by rehabilitated pacer Amir who has been splendid recently. But Amir would certainly require help from senior bowlers like Mohammed Sami, who has been wayward so far. Irfan has extracted a lot of bounce with his height but has not looked penetrative enough.

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