Bangla test for holders

Bangla test for holders

Flamboyant strokemakers like Naeem Islam make Bangladesh a dangerous proposition. AP

Thursday night’s defeat came as a rude shock for the defending champions, who had beaten Sri Lanka in the summit clash of the previous edition at Lord’s to clinch the title.
Pakistan have played very few Twenty20 matches in the last one year and some of their top cricketers were banned and fined for indiscipline.

Prominent among them are Shoaib Malik, who got married to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza recently, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and former skipper Younis Khan, and all of them will be missing in action in the World Cup. Hence, the onus would be on skipper Shahid Afridi, who was also fined for $35,000, to ensure that his team-mates puts behind them all such issues and give their best.

On Thursday, Pakistan had suffered a batting collapse with opener Khalid Latif, Mohammad Hafeez, Afridi and Umar Akmal all managing single-digit scores. Senior player Abdul Razzaq also managed just two runs as they folded up for 131 chasing Zimbabwe’s 143 in 20 overs.

Afridi will have to make sure this defeat doesn’t dent the team’s morale and has no bearing in Saturday’s clash against Bangladesh.

Although failing with the bat, Afridi at least picked up four wickets against Zimbabwe with his leg-spin and it will boost his confidence which will reflect positively in his captaincy.
Despite the loss, Pakistan remain a formidable side and Bangladesh will have to play out of their skins to beat them.

With just three wins — against Kenya, Zimbabwe and the West Indies — out of their 14 Twenty20 internationals in 2006 and 2007, Bangladesh don’t have anything to show.
Also, in their seven matches at the previous editions of the Twenty20 World Cup, Bangladesh have won just one match -- against the West Indies. To top that, a seven-wicket loss to England in a warm-up match in Barbados on Wednesday must have dented their confidence.

However, Bangladesh will take heart from their 2007 50-over World Cup exploits in the Caribbean, when they beat India in the Group stage.

Bangladesh have the likes of captain Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful and Abdur Razzak, who can guide the team to an upset win.

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