Pakistan picked up a morale-boosting warmup win over Sri Lanka Monday, with Mohammad Hafeez, crucially finding some form with the bat. Shahid Afridi and co. will now want to take that momentum into their opening ICC World T20 2016 match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, when they play Bangladesh Wednesday.
Bangladesh beat Pakistan in the Asia Cup T20, so there will be that revenge feeling on the minds of the men in lighter green when the two teams take to the field at the iconic Eden Gardens.
Not too many think Pakistan have the capability to go all the way in this ICC World T20 2016, primarily because of their iffy batting lineup. The top order does not look secure, while, apart from Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik, there isn't that much faith in the middle order either.
Pakistan's mantra for success in this World T20 will be – put on a reasonably decent score, just about par, and maybe even a touch below it, and then ask that lethal bowling lineup to defend the total.
That is pretty much what they did against Sri Lanka Monday, scoring just below 160, before the bowlers eventually grasped the match in Pakistan's favour. But then, Sri Lanka are a team, at the moment, struggling a lot more than Pakistan, and Afridi and coach Waqar Younis will know Bangladesh will be a different prospect.
They are coming off an Asia Cup final appearance and have had enough time to get attuned to the Indian conditions by playing in the qualifiers. Yes, Dharamsala and Kolkata are completely different, but just the fact that Bangladesh have already played competitive cricket in this World T20 will give them an advantage.
Another advantage will be that Asia Cup victory over Pakistan. It was a tight, low-scoring game, with the home team, chasing a target of below 130, just about holding their nerve in the end.
This wicket at Eden Gardens is likely to produce a lot more runs, so the key battle is likely to be Pakistan's bowlers vs Bangladesh's batsmen.
Whoever wins that particular contest will, most likely, end up winning the match.
ICC World T20 2016 Pakistan vs Bangladesh schedule: Date: Wednesday, March 16.
Time: 3 p.m. IST (2.30 p.m. PKT, 3.30 p.m. BST, 9.30 a.m. GMT, 4.30 a.m. ET).
Venue: Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
TV listings: India: Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD 3. Bangladesh: Bangladesh TV and Star Sports. Pakistan: PTV. UK: Sky Sports 2. USA and Canada: Willow TV. Hong Kong and Singapore: Star Cricket. Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD. Middle East and North Africa: OSN Sports Cricket HD. Australia: Fox Sports 3. New Zealand: Sky Sport 1. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport 2.