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Bangladesh vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I Preview: Babar's Boys look to stamp authority after close series opener

Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates with teammates
Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates with teammates

Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz starred in a come-from-behind victory for Pakistan in the first T20I.

LIVE SCORES - Bangladesh vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I

Interesting decision to rest Imad, Asif Ali

The fact that Pakistan had named a full-strength squad for the tour of Bangladesh with the exception of Mohammad Hafeez who decided to pull out in order to allow young players to get a game, there was every reason to believe that Pakistan will try to be ruthless and go in with their strongest available XI. 

However, they decided to rest Imad Wasim and Asif Ali who were effective for the team in the T20 World Cup. That came as a slight surprise as in case the Men in Green wanted to give opportunities to the fringe players, they would have been better off to name youngsters.

It may be the case that these players were either fatigued after travelling or carrying niggles and wanted a day off and might make the side in the 2nd T20I. However, with a gap of less than 24 hours between the two matches, that is highly unlikely.

Pakistan's top 3 intact

The one thing that Pakistan did well was to stick with their top 3 of Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman all of whom played match-defining innings in the recently concluded T20 World Cup.

As expected, Haider Ali came into the side in place of Mohammad Hafeez. Khushdil Shah and Mohammad Wasim Jr were the new faces in the Pakistan XI, with Shaheen Shah Afridi opting to rest.

Bangladesh field new-look side

Bangladesh went in with quite a young side Their top three players Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim are all available due to various reasons. The Mahmudullah-led side had Shamim Hossain, Nasum Ahmed, Yasir Ali, Shahidul Islam and Akbar Ali on the bench.

The team went with Saif Hassan as Mohammad Naim's new opening partner with both Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar having been dropped after a quiet World Cup. Najmul Hossain Shanto, Afif Hossain and Mahmudullah were part of the middle order, with Nurul Hasan replacing Mushfiqur Rahim as the wicketkeeper.

Aminul Islam, Shoriful Islam, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman were their bowling options.

Nightmare for batters

Given Bangladesh's troubles in the T20 World Cup with the bat recently, better pitches were expected. When Mahmmadullah decided to bat first after winning the toss, he had the same thought in his mind.

It was encouraging that there was some grass on the pitch as well, but true to recent history, the pitch did not prove to be conducive for batting.

In fact, 44 T20 matches have been played in Dhaka with an average first innings score of 146. But, in the last 10 matches, that score has come down to 119. That may be down to the nature of the pitch, the role of the curators or a specific directive from the Bangladesh team or the cricket board.

Despite managing only 127 after batting first, and that too after face-saving contributions from Afif Hossain (36 off 34 balls), Nurul Hasan (28 off 22 balls) and Mahedi Hasan (30 off 20 balls), Bangladesh fell short of the par score, with Hasan Ali and Mohammad Wasim Jr bowling spectacularly.

Still, the Bangladesh bowlers made a match out of it and at one point, they were leading in the game only for Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz to spoil their party.

Given that one game isn't enough to judge any player, both teams are expected to be unchanged for the second T20I.

Predicted Playing XIs

- Mohammad Naim, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Afif Hossain, Mahmudullah (c), Nurul Hasan (wk), Aminul Islam, Shoriful Islam, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman

Pakistan - Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf

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