Pakistan will be hoping to set the record straight against Bangladesh when the two meet at the Eden Gardens this afternoon – provided Mashrafe Mortaza’s side let them.
They have won seven and lost two of their nine T20 matches against Bangladesh. But what ought to put them on their guard is that the two defeats came in the last two encounters.
Bangladesh are on a roll and had whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in an ODI series as well as in the one-off T20 played last May at home.
They also beat Afridi’s team in the Asia Cup earlier this year and have won five of their last six completed T20I fixtures coming into this match. The sole defeat was against India in the recent Asia Cup final.
In contrast, Pakistan have won just two of their most recent six.
“[Bangladesh] are playing really good cricket, been a good side, and we respect them,” Pakistan coach Waqar Younis told journalists on Tuesday when asked to rate his team’s chances.
At the same time, Younis tried to downplay the sway that Bangladesh have had over his pupils in the shorter formats of cricket in the past one year.
“This is the big stage. We are confident we will play good cricket,” the coach said.
Younis has history to draw inspiration from; Pakistan have won all four previous encounters – in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Plus, in skipper Shahid Afridi, Pakistan has the leading wicket-taker in T20I history, who is at the top of this ranking with 93 scalps.
The next two on the ranking are also from Pakistan – Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul; they have 85 wickets each. Unfortunately, neither is playing in this tournament.
It is statistics that Mortaza acknowledged in his pre-match press conference when he conceded Pakistan’s record against his side in the shortest format.
“I think Pakistan have more experience than us, if you see history, Pakistan is better,” he said.
Tamim Iqbal was the leading run scorer in the opening stage of this year’s World Twenty20, smashing 233 runs from 147 balls and being dismissed just once in three innings.
Incidentally, this will be the fifth time these sides have met in a World Twenty20 match, making it the joint most common fixture in the competition’s history.
Sri Lanka v West Indies also have had five meetings.
Pakistan World T20 schedule
Wed, 16 Mar – against Bangladesh in Kolkata (afternoon)
Sat, 19 Mar – against India in Kolkata (evening)
Tue, 22 Mar – against New Zealand in Mohali (evening)
Fri, 25 Mar – against Australia in Mohali (afternoon)
Shahid Afridi (capt.); Anwar Ali; Imad Wasim; Khalid Latif; Ahmed Shehzad; Mohammad Amir; Mohammad Hafeez; Mohammad Irfan; Mohammad Nawaz; Mohammad Sami; Sarfraz Ahmed; Sharjeel Khan; Shoaib Malik; Umar Akmal and Wahab Riaz.
Coach – Waqar Younis