The iconic cricket venue Eden Gardens will host the Bengal Tigers after 25 years when they are taking on unpredictable Pakistan to begin their Super-10 campaign of the ICC Word Twenty20 this (Wednesday) afternoon.
The much hyped Group-2 super-10 battle will begin at 3:30pm (Bangladesh time) expecting a crowed-packed gallery at the world 2nd largest cricket venue, with the capacity of 66,000 seats, as almost all the tickets have been sold out a day before the match.
Athar Ali Khan, who later turned to a commentator, amused the Eden’s spectators with his unbeaten 78 off 95 balls innings against Sri Lanka in December 1990 in the 3rd Asia Cup, when Eden hosts the tigers for the first time.
That glorious moment can provoke any batsman of the nowadays’ confident Tigers to play far better innings against Pakistan.
In addition, playing at Eden Gardens has been an enduring dream for many of the Bangladeshi players.
The Tigers have a stimulus recent record against Pakistan with two successive T20I victories, including a 5-wiket in the Asia Cup on March 2, but lost in seven battles against them is also a matter of fact, approved by the Tigers skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.
“I think Pakistan have more experience than us but in the last two months in this format we have proven that we are good…. if you see history, Pakistan is better,” Mashrafe said.
The inspirational skipper expressed his hope for doing well in the high-voltage match. “I expect everyone’s performance in the match; good to see Tamim is playing well; we are excited as we want to create memories here at the grounds, is one of the biggest in the world.”
However, Edens’s pitch offered turn to the spinners in the warm-up match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan on Monday, though there was also moderate bounce. The weather is forecast to be good for this game.
Tigers’ most important pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman made net practice on Tuesday, if he is declared fit before the match, it will be a straight switch between him and Abu Hider Rony.
The cutter-master Mustafiz who was adjudged ESPN Best Debutant Player of the Year, has already missed out the qualifying round of the tournament due to injury.
Mushfiqur Rahim’s off form with bat is a worry while all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is indulging the opponent for a couple of months should rediscover his form.
Dashing opener Tamim Iqbal contributing loudly in the meet with bat including his unbeaten knock of 83 and 103 in the qualifier stage.
In-form top-order batsman Sabbir Rahman can look to Tamim for building a T20 innings as he has shown the tendency to do so as he collected 388 runs in 12 T20Is at an average of 43.11 runs in 2016.
Mahmudullah Riyad has also been in good form. Al-Amin Hossain has risen to No 6 in the T20 bowling rankings and will have to come up with the goods for Bangladesh in the last few overs.
Pakistan might opt for the extra spinner in Imad Wasim. They will pitch Ahmed Shehzad in the opening slot while Wahab Riaz is likely to play ahead of Mohammad Sami.
Bangladesh entered in to super-10 stage from Group-A as unbeaten group champion after beating Oman by a huge margin of 54 runs in D/L match with maiden T20I century of 103 runs by Tamim Iqbal on Sunday last.
Besides, the Tigers made a good start in the qualifying round beating the Netherlands by eight runs and shared points with Ireland in the 2nd match which was washout due to persistent rain at Dharamsala.
The Tigers were pitted in Group-2 of the Super-10 stage along with Australia, India, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Bangladesh squad (probable): Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Mithun, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (capt), Al Amin Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman/Abu Hider and Taskin Ahmed.
Pakistan squad (probable): Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi (captain), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan.