About the Match
One day cricket resumes with Pakistan taking on Bangladesh after a long and refreshing break after the World Cup. The first ODI is set to be played on 17th April at Shere Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur which would be a day-night game and would begin at begin at 0830 hours GMT. Bangladesh had a dream world cup as they qualified for the knockouts while knocking England out and giving Indians a scare during their quarterfinal game. Pakistan too would be reasonably happy as they reached quarterfinals and were beaten by a side which appeared ruthless and flawless in the knockout stage of the tournament. Pakistan is a strong team, but they would have to be wary of what Bangladeshis can do, especially on their home soil and thus, it promises to be a cracker of a game.
Pakistan picked up their form as they progressed further in the World Cup. After being thrashed by the Indians and surviving a close call against Zimbabweans, Pakistan went on to beat South Africa and West Indies quite comfortably, thanks to their bowling. Wahab Riaz was excellent and was praised by the legends for this fiery spell against Australia. Misbah and Afridi will certainly be missed in this series and Azhar Ali will handle the captaincy. The return of Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan will bolster the bowling attack even further. The batting of this team looks weak on paper, but that has always been the case for Pakistan in recent past. Their superb bowling has made up for it in the past and if they can improve on their batting and bowl like they've been doing, they will be a force to win against.
Bangladesh had a fairy-tale like World Cup as they lost to just New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the league stage. They had their chances in the quarterfinal against India before Rohit Sharma bailed the Indians out of a tough situation. Bangladesh will have their full squad at their service which was at the World Cup with Mashrafe Murtaza leading the side. Shakib al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim will be key pillars of their batting and scoring in middle overs and finishing the innings. Tamim Iqbal will handle the opening slot along with Imrul Kayes. Mahmudullah scored two important centuries in the world cup and his team would want him to continue his batting form. Rubel Hussain was their pick of the bowlers and consistently bowled fast and troubled the oppositions' batsmen. Bangladesh impressed one and all in the recently concluded ICC event and if they continue to perform like that, it would be tough to get past them, more so at their home ground.
As far as rankings are concerned, Pakistan are above the Bangladesh; however, looking at teams on paper, the teams are evenly matched. Batting will be a cause of worry for Pakistan while Bangladesh will be looking for consistency in front of their home ground. It would be interesting to see which teams wins the battle on the cricket ground. With home advantage and players in form, I'd place my money on Bangladesh.
Bangladesh, 2.75 @ Bet365