by Talal Dar
Pakistan Cricket Team had started 2009 World T20 with a loss against England but still went on to win the tournament, but this time they cannot afford to be lenient in the first game as it is against Bangladesh, who had recently defeated Pakistan in Asia Cup event and Pakistani nation wants revenge desperately.
In fact, Pakistan has lost last 5 limited-over games against Bangladesh (3 ODIs and 2 T20s) and sixth defeat in a row will be too painful for the team. Not only that, Pakistan’s loss against Bangladesh could shatter the confidence of the side ahead of the next game against arch-rivals India.
Pakistani side will have to remember that they had won 40 games in a row against Bangladesh before this losing streak started. Since losing to Bangladesh in 1999 World Cup, Pakistan won 25 consecutive ODI matches, 7 T20 matches in a row and 8 straight Test matches against Bangladesh, until Pakistan lost to them in 2015.
Pakistan has 100% record against Bangladesh in World T20 tournament as they won in Super Eight round of the 2007 World T20 in South Africa and group stage of the 2010 World T20 in West Indies, 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka and 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi side will be confident after reaching the final of Asia Cup, where they almost shocked Pakistan and Sri Lanka, before almost edging India in final but Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan made sure that Bangladesh were deprived of their first major title.
Bangladesh has already got practice in India after winning 2 matches of qualifying round against Netherlands and Oman. Their match against Ireland was washed out due to rain but it was enough to earn them the spot in the main round. They are already set in the conditions whereas Pakistani side had reached late and played only one warm-up game against Sri Lanka.
Pakistani players will have to play freely without pressure, but there will be pressure of Indian conditions and also some from Pakistani media, who have already criticised Shahid Afridi for praising Indian hospitality. Pakistani people will have to back the senior player who is in the twilight of his career and is carrying the flag of the nation.
Bangladesh is the weakest side of the group and loss against Bangladesh would mean that Pakistan will have to win all three remaining games against India, Australia and New Zealand, which looks next to impossible considering form of these three teams.
But as Imran Khan once said, ‘’Pakistani team plays best when they have least expectations’’. They are unpredictable players so one can never rule them out and Cornered Tigers of Pakistan can always surprise the nation by bringing the trophy home.Share: