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Red-hot Bangladesh has the edge

Pakistan will welcome back T20I skipper Afridi and change in format after ODI whitewash

Red-hot Bangladesh has the edge - Cricket News
Bangladesh is a side high on form and confidence, but one big concern will be its lack of match-practice in the shortest format.
It is not often that Bangladesh enters a match or a series as the favourite against a side from the subcontinent. The tag, however, suits it well for the one-off Twenty20 International against Pakistan on Friday (April 24) after their 3-0 rout of the visitor in the preceding One-Day International series.
 
Shakib Al Hasan had proclaimed Bangladesh as the favourite before the Pakistan side arrived in his country. Three matches into the tour, it appears as if his confidence is certainly not misplaced. Bangladesh not just defeated Pakistan in the one-dayers, but deflated it with each win more convincing than the previous one.
 
If the one-day series is anything to go by, Bangladesh's batting line-up appears settled and in terrific form. Tamim Iqbal justified the selectors’ continued faith in him with scores of 132, 116 not out and 64, while Soumya Sarkar, his opening partner, continued to enhance his reputation with a sparking maiden century in the third match. Mushfiqur Rahim warmed up nicely with 220 runs at a strike rate over 115 in the ODI series. 
 
Bangladesh's only concern will be the lack of runs from Mahmudullah. The right-hand batsman, who starred with consecutive centuries in the World Cup, managed just 26 runs and could be replaced by either Litton Das or Rony Talukdar, the uncapped duo drafted in for the one-off game. 
 
Bangladesh's bowling has all been about team work. Mashrafe Mortaza, Taskin Ahmed and Abul Hasan are the pace options, but its attack is likely to be built around its spinners, with Shakib and Arafat Sunny leading the way. Bangladesh is a side high on form and confidence, but one big concern will be its lack of match-practice in the shortest format. Its last T20I came more than a year back in the World T20 when it lost to Australia and none of its players, barring Shakib who recently played in the Indian Premier League, has played T20s in the recent past.
 
Pakistan will welcome the change of format. It is ranked No. 3 in the International Cricket Council's T20I rankings and is among the most consistent sides in a format known for its unpredictability. Shahid Afridi, who retired from ODIs after the World Cup, will lead Pakistan and will look to inject some much-needed positivity into the camp. 
 
The new-look Pakistan side under a new captain in Azhar Ali had some good periods in the one-day series but was unable to prolong them. Its batsmen got starts but none, barring the skipper, converted them into something more substantial. Sarfraz Ahmed is likely to return after being dropped for the final ODI and the team will also have fresh faces in Ahmed Shehzad and Sohail Tanvir. Mohammad Hafeez tallied just eight runs in the one-dayers and it remains to be seen if the team management continues to back him.
 
Current form, momentum and home advantage point to Bangladesh. It wouldn't be wise, however, to rule out Pakistan in a format which is as unpredictable as its cricket.

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