Pakistan v Bangladesh 2nd T20I Preview: Lackadaisical Tigers need to step up intensity on sluggish Lahore pitch
Pakistan would be pleased with a much-needed five-wicket victory in the first T20I but The Men in Green would know that they were nowhere close to their best on Friday.
Venue - Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Start time - 09:00 AM GMT | 02:00 PM LOCAL | 2:30 PM PKT
Weather - Fog, 18°C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 58%, Wind: 6 km/h
The sluggish Lahore pitch
The pitch at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore was always expected to offer some assistance to the spinners. But, that it would become so slow, was hardly expected.
The ball came on decently on the bat when it was hard and new but as the game carried on, it became really difficult to play the big shots, which is why the fans got to witness 141 playing 142 in the 1st T20I on Friday.
If the 2nd match will be played on the same strip, it is only expected to worsen and 150 then becomes a good total here.
Even Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who is expected to have a fair idea of the conditions, expressed his surprise over the Lahore pitch.
Bangladesh need to step up intensity
Pakistan won the series opener as much as Bangladesh lost it. The team had set a great platform for themselves with openers Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Naim putting together a 71-run stand.
However, it was quite slow and runs came at just over run-a-ball. Still, the team always had an opportunity to launch towards the end. But, in a moment of carelessness, as Iqbal tried to steal a run, he was run out by Haris Rauf and things only went downhill from there on for the visitors.
Mohammad Naim and Liton Das will also have to share the blame for not trying to step it up. Yes, run-scoring was difficult in Lahore but there was also an evident lack of urgency in the Bangladesh batsmen.
Had it not been for a 14-ball 19 from skipper Mahmudullah, Bangladesh would have not even reached 140, which is not desirable in modern-day cricket.
Shoaib Malik reiterates his worth
There were lot of questions asked about Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik's re-inclusion. But, skipper Babar Azam backed them all the way through. He went on to say that having the two veterans back gives them a feeling akin to the one in 2018, when the team was on a winning roll.
Malik, for one, proved his worth and showed why his experience was crucial for Pakistan. Apart from Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez, the batting line-up is pretty inexperienced and they do need someone like Malik in the middle order to steer them.
Had it not been for his unbeaten 45-ball 58, Pakistan could well have faltered while chasing a low total. Malik received the Man of the Match award for his efforts and looked satisfied with his performance.
"The ball was coming well with the new ball, but it wasn't easy later on, needed to find the gaps. Credit to the bowlers, fielding was exceptional, overall - it was a good performance. When the pitch is tough or when you're chasing, you need to give yourself a chance, take the game deep. Rotate strike, take singles and kill a few overs so that you can produce boundaries at the end," the 38-year-old said after the match.
Not much time to 'regroup'
Generally when a team loses or shows lack of intensity, the usual phrase used for them is to take a break and 'regroup'. However, in this case, there is not much time to regroup. In fact, none.
Both the teams will head back to the hotel and come back to the same venue the next morning to have their drills and there you go, time for the toss again!
In such a scenario, there is not much scope of working on your skills. The most both teams will do is to have a short discussion among themselves, mostly focusing on the mental part of things.
Both Bangladesh and Pakistan are not expected to make any changes to their playing XI, as one match is never enough to test a player. Changes, if any, will happen for the final T20I.
Here's a look at the predicted playing XI of both teams:
Pakistan - Ahsan Ali, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain
Bangladesh - Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Naim, Afif Hossain, Liton Das (wk), Mahmudullah (c), Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain
This is where you can catch all the live action across the globe:
Pakistan: PTV sports
Bangladesh: Gazi TV (GTV)
India: Sony Network
Canada: ATN Cricket Plus (Asian Television Network), CBN
USA: Willow TV
Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD
Middle East and North Africa (MENA): OSN Sports Cricket HD
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