Pakistan and Bangladesh face the opportunity to get points on the board when they meet in Match 12 of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup on Monday in Hamilton.
The sides are two of three teams yet to register a win at the 2022 World Cup, with England the other nation still searching for a victory.
But one of Pakistan and Bangladesh will have points on the board after the clash at Seddon Park, and whoever does will have kept alive their slim hopes of finishing in the top four of the tournament’s group stage and bagging one of the much sought-after semi-final spots.
Bismah Maroof’s Pakistan side pushed South Africa close in Mount Maunganui last time out, putting in an improved showing from the heavy defeats to India and Australia they suffered earlier in the group stage.
But the Pakistan skipper says that the loss to the Proteas showed the importance of winning the “key moments”.
“We have talked in meetings about key moments in these crucial matches and I think we fought really hard to try and win the match, but yes the key moments we lost,” Maroof said.
“I think South Africa deserved to win and yes credit to batters as well – we had good partnerships in the middle as well.
“There are positives we can take into the next game, especially batting where we built those partnerships. We’re looking forward to our next match against Bangladesh, and we’ll try to win every match we have left at the tournament.”
Monday’s opponents Bangladesh have had a week to wait between matches after a brace of early losses to South Africa and New Zealand.
And the Tigers will be looking for a positive performance after going winless since arriving in New Zealand, having also lost both of their warm-up games prior to the tournament.
One of those warm-up defeats was against Pakistan, where Nigar Sultana’s side snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a rain-affected match, with a fragile batting line-up struggling badly, particularly against young right-armer Fatima Sana.
Pakistan Squad: Bismah Maroof (c), Nida Dar (vc), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sundhu, Omaima Sohail, Sidra Amin and Sidra Nawaz
Bangladesh Squad: Nigar Sultana (c), Salma Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Shamima Sultana, Fahima Khatun, Ritu Moni, Murshida Khatun, Nahida Akter, Sharmin Akhter, Lata Mondal, Sobhana Mostary, Fariha Trisna, Suraiya Azmin, Sanjida Akter Meghla
CWC22 DREAM11 FANTASY WATCH
Captaincy Pick – Bismah Maroof
Pakistan’s captain has provided one of the most striking images of the tournament so far, and her performances on the pitch have been noteworthy too. Her 78 against Australia’s high-quality bowling showed her class, and she’ll be looking to go big again after a first-baller against South Africa.
Must have – Fargana Hoque
So much in World Cups relies on form, and Bangladesh opener Fargana Hoque showed that she’s hit a rich vein of the stuff with a classy half-century against New Zealand last time out.
Nashra Sundhu: The slow left-armer is Pakistan's most reliable performer with the ball and her impressive average of just over 28 at international ODI level is testimony to this. Sundhu is sure to be used in the middle overs of an innings to try and quell the run rate of opposition teams.
Nigar Sultana: Much is expected of the Bangladesh captain with the bat and behind the stumps and it will come as no surprise to see the 24-year-old be a breakout star of this tournament. Sultana has already scored an international century in 50-over cricket and has shown the ability to compete well with the best attacks in the world on previous occasions.
The picturesque Seddon Park plays host to this match, one of seven tournament fixtures held at the ground.
The grassy stadium in Hamilton will be a familiar setting to fans of international cricket, with the ground having hosted an abundance of international matches since its first ODI - New Zealand's men against India back in 1981.
All eight teams at the tournament will play each other across seven rounds in a league format.
The top four teams in the standings after the conclusion of the Group Stage will qualify for the semi-finals, which will be held in the final week of March.
Bangladesh’s remaining tournament fixtures:
18 March v West Indies
22 March v India
25 March v Australia
27 March v England
Pakistan’s remaining tournament fixtures:
21 March v West Indies
24 March v England
26 March v New Zealand