Bangladesh are left with a pretty simple scenario to reach the final of the 2016 Asia Cup T20 – beat Pakistan at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Wednesday.
Having picked up two wins in their first three matches, Bangladesh have the final destiny in their own hands. However, beating a Pakistan team upbeat after seeing off the UAE will not be an easy proposition.
Bangladesh were dealt a further blow as well when Mustafizur Rahman, their best bowler, was ruled out of the Asia Cup with a side strain. As good as the rest of the bowling attack is, Bangladesh will miss Mustafizur, particularly his skills in the death overs.
As Sri Lanka found out, hitting Mustafizur in the final overs is quite difficult, and the left-arm seamer lends Mashrafe Mortaza, the captain, so much bowling balance and confidence, that he will be a difficult man to replace.
However, Bangladesh will be bolstered by the return of Tamim Iqbal to the squad, considering the home team have struggled considerably at the top of the batting order. In two of their three matches, at least one of the openers have fallen with the total score still on single figures, while against Sri Lanka, in the last match, both openers – Mohammad Mithun and Soumya Sarkar – were dismissed with just two runs on the board.
Tamim will provide the much-needed experience at the top of the innings and Bangladesh will need him too, considering the form Mohammad Amir is in. Amir has been a revelation in this Asia Cup, with the highlight of the tournament so far that brilliant first over against India.
Bangladesh only survived those early losses against Sri Lanka thanks to Sabbir Rahman's brilliant counter-attacking innings, but if the Pakistan fast bowlers find their groove, getting out of jail might prove to be a lot more difficult.
While Bangladesh have plenty to work on in their batting, the same can be said of Pakistan as well. Against the UAE, Pakistan were on 17/3, after losing their top three, before Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik paddled them back to shore with sensible batting.
As Pakistan showed against India, there is a propensity to collapse when put under real pressure, and it is that weakness that Bangladesh should look to exploit come Wednesday.
Pakistan need a victory to keep their final hopes against India alive, and if they end up beating Bangladesh, it will all come down to the final league stage match between the men in light green and Sri Lanka.
Where to Watch Live
Bangladesh vs Pakistan is scheduled for a 7.30 pm local time (7 pm IST, 6.30 pm PKT, 1.30 pm GMT, 8.30 am ET) start. Viewers in India can watch the Asia Cup match live on TV on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports HD3. Hotstar and Starsports online will provide the online live streaming options.
Viewers in Pakistan can watch the Asia Cup action live on Geo Super, PTV and Ten Sports, while Channel 9 and Bangladesh TV will broadcast the match live in Bangladesh. PTV Live Streaming is the online live stream option for fans in Pakistan.
OSN Sports Cricket HD will broadcast the match live in the Middle East and North Africa, while the match can also be live streamed on OSN Play. Sri Lanka viewers can catch all the action live on National TV and MTV Sports.
Viewers in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Malaysia and Singapore can watch India vs Sri Lanka live on Yupp TV, with the live stream option on Yupp TV online.