India and Pakistan could potentially face off against each other for a third time in this year’s Asia Cup, but results have to fall into place first. If Pakistan were to beat Bangladesh in this elimination-like encounter, the men in green will head into the 2018 Asia Cup final having lost both matches to India. The Indians have certainly been a cut above the rest in this year’s tournament, they remain undefeated with just one final super four match remaining against Afghanistan later today.
A narrow-victory over Afghanistan in their last match keeps Bangladesh alive in the tournament heading into this all-important last super four game before the Asia Cup final in Dubai on Friday. They bounced back well after consecutive losses to Afghanistan and India had them at breaking point, both dismal batting performances similar to Sri Lanka’s early exit in the tournament. Despite a hard-fought victory against Afghanistan to resurrect their Asia Cup campaign, Bangladesh still have some very problematic weaknesses in their game that need attending to. Opting to replace Tamim Iqbal with middle-order batsman Nazmul Hossain Shanto can only be seen as a huge failure, three single-digit scores in a row should see someone else handed the opportunity to perform at the top of the order. Mohammad Mithun started his Asia Cup campaign with a bang in the first match against Sri Lanka, but apart from that his form has dropped off significantly scoring just 12 runs in his past three outings. Liton Das scored a rare-41 as he impressed against the new ball, his previous three matches in the tournament were also all single-digit scores. The inclusion of Imrul Kayes in their last match may have solved their problem though, an unbeaten 72 at No. 6 could be a quick-fix for their batting woes at the top of the order. All-rounder Mahmudullah stepped up big time for the Tigers with a brisk-74 to help his side to a healthy total. For Bangladesh to upset Pakistan in this match, Mustafizur Rahman must claim some big scalps in their top order. The 23-year-old quick has by no means dominated the tournament so far, however he’s got a tremendous amount of ability to dislodge a team like Pakistan if he mixes up his line & length. Bangladesh will most-likely bring back Rubel Hossain as that third seam option given his wicket-taking ability, they don’t have the most potent attack going around it must be said.
With the result expected to go Pakistan’s way tomorrow which would result in an India versus Pakistan final, it still has the potential to go either way after Bangladesh crawled over the line against Afghanistan to keep their Asia Cup dream alive. Even if Pakistan do make it to the final, they have to overcome their arch-rival who’ve already comprehensively-outplayed them in both meetings. Focusing on the task at hand though, Pakistan is yet to play Bangladesh in this year’s Asia Cup which could throw in a bit of a curve ball. It looks as if they have their opposition covered in just about every aspect of the game, but after that bowling performance against India where each & every one of their bowlers went wicketless, I wouldn’t be so sure. Left-arm quick Mohammad Amir is yet to take a wicket in the tournament, while Hasan Ali doesn’t look his usual-dominant self with the ball. Even Usman Khan has struggled to take wickets in his past two matches, yet Pakistan still find themselves competing for a spot in the Asia Cup final. Pakistan’s opening batsmen have found this tournament a lot more difficult compared to their tour of Zimbabwe which is expected, particularly Fakhar Zaman who was performing like the modern-day Don Bradman a couple of months ago. No. 3 Babar Azam has looked promising in most of his Asia Cup matches in the tournament, while Imam-ul-Haq has still managed two fifties amongst some not-so-good stints at the crease. Pakistan’s most impressive batsman in this year’s Asia Cup has to be Shoaib Malik, he’s averaging 90.50 which is a little excessive given his two not out’s, nevertheless he’s strung together three solid efforts at the crease (43, 51* & 78) making him a valuable asset for this team. A good bowling performance in this next match would really boost the likes Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali’s confidence if they were to advance to the final against India in Dubai later this week.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Bangladesh | Asia Cup super four | 6th match | Abu Dhabi
- Mushfiqur Rahim
- Mustafizur Rahman
- Imrul Kayes
- Shakib Al Hasan
Wildcard pick – Rubel Hossain
Top 5 fantasy picks | Pakistan | Asia Cup super four | 6th match | Abu Dhabi
- Babar Azam
- Hasan Ali
- Shoaib Malik
- Shadab Khan
Wildcard pick – Sarfraz Ahmed
Bangladesh (possible) – 1. Liton Das 2. Imrul Kayes 3. Mohammad Mithun 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk) 5. Shakib Al Hasan 6. Mominul Haque/Mosaddek Hossain/Nazmul Hossain Shanto 7. Mahmudullah 8. Mashrafe Mortaza © 9. Mehidy Hasan Miraz 10. Mustafizur Rahman 11. Rubel Hossain.
Pakistan (possible) – 1. Imam-ul-Haq 2. Fakhar Zaman 3. Babar Azam 4. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk) 5. Shoaib Malik 6. Asif Ali 7. Mohammad Nawaz/Faheem Ashraf 8. Shadab Khan 9. Hasan Ali 10. Mohammad Amir/Junaid Khan 11. Shaheen Shah Afridi/Usman Khan.