Pakistan v Bangladesh – 1st ODI – Bengali Players to watch out for
Bangladesh will take on Pakistan in the first One Day International (ODI) of the three match series at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur in Bangladesh on Thursday, December 1, 2011.
The hosts lost the lone Twenty20 of the series at the same venue on Tuesday, November 29, but will be hoping of change in fortunes when they take the field in the 50-over leg.
Despite Pakistan being favourites to win the series comfortably, there are still chances of a challenge from the Bangladesh side, as they can be very competitive playing at home.
There are quite a few players in the home team, who can cause problems for the opposition. On top of that list is all-rounder Shakib-Al-Hasan, who was recently sacked from captaincy after a disappointing tour of Zimbabwe.
Shakib is one of the top all-rounders in modern day cricket and has the ability to change the complexion of the match both with the bat and ball. He has five ODI centuries to his name and an impressive batting average of more than 35.
Other than that, the youngster has the potential of troubling the batsmen with his quality left-arm spin bowling. He has now taken 150 wickets in the 50-over format and is a consistent performer for the Bangladeshi side.
Above that, Shakib is also a terrific fielder, which makes him a utility cricketer in all three formats of the game.
Another player who can make an impact against the Men in Green is skipper of the home side Mushfiqur Rahim. He is a mighty spirited player and has become even more focussed since taking over the charge of the team.
Apart from being an excellent wicketkeeper, Rahim is one of the most flexible batsmen in the Bengali line up, as he can bat at any position. He may be short in height, but definitely not in talent.
The 23-year-old was not really known for playing the big strokes, but has recently showed that he can hit the ball a long way.
However, the most important thing for the Bangladesh side will be the start they get, so that players like Rahim and Shakib can capitalise in the middle overs.
Tamim Iqbal is the right man, who can provide a solid start to his side against a quality bowling attack of Pakistan.
The flamboyant left-handed opener has the ability to hit the ball hard and plays both spin and seam bowling with control. He just needs to spend some time at the crease in order to get used to the pace of the pitch and then he can be devastating for the opposition.
Another top-order batsman who can make an impression against the Green Shirts is Shahriar Nafees. He has four ODI tons till date and was one of the most promising cricketers in the Bengali side when he made his international debut in 2005.
Nafees has been a touch inconsistent in recent times, but there is no doubt over his ability, as he can score a big one against any team.
Other than the batsmen and all-rounders, Bangladesh will need a quality bowling attack to counter Pakistan. The team has been hurt by the absence of pace ace Mashrafe Mortaza, who has suffered too many injury problems recently.
However, spinner Abdur Razzak has led the attack with confidence, taking 175 ODI scalps in 126 outings.
All in all, it will be difficult for Bangladesh to overcome Pakistan, but it is not impossible. The team needs some solid performances to prove their critics wrong.