What’s at stake?
Bangladesh have shown a lot of spirit with their performances in this tournament so far. Playing in their first ever 50-overs World Cup, the side came close and gave a great fight to South Africa, the no. 2 ranked side in the world. Against New Zealand, they started the innings by taking the attack to the hosts. In both cases, their side failed to keep the momentum and press forward, a skill which differentiates a good side from a champion side.
While Bangladesh keep looking for experience to make a statement, there will always be positives this team can take, knowing that they played only a handful of the games in this format in a whole four-year cycle. While their bowling has shown the capability to put teams under pressure, against Pakistan’s flimsy batting unit, their chances of delivering a result are quite high.
That should keep them motivated as Pakistan, on the other hand, seeks revenge for their recent defeat. The two teams have played twice in the past six months in this very format. Once in the World Cup qualifiers, where Bangladesh won a thriller, and then in the warm-up matches for this tournament. Pakistan were able to seal that game in the final stages.
But Bismah Maroof’s side will be well aware that only one of those matches has been registered as an official ODI. Her side came quite close to beating South Africa and might have been able to close the game, but in hindsight, they left just a bit too much for the end.
Pakistan’s issues are pretty similar to that of Bangladesh. Against India, they let go off the advantage when they had them 114 for 6 at one point. Against Australia, they struggled a bit more than they should have to get to a good score. But against the Proteas, they turned up once again and had them at 120 for 5, before letting that slip as well. In the same match, they failed to accelerate at the right time.
Both these teams have major flaws. Nothing makes for a better cricket match than a contest between two equally-matched teams.
What they said:
“Actually, we know them very well because we have played with each other many times. So we have a good idea against them. And I think we have a good chance to get our first win in the World Cup.”
- Nigar Sultana when asked if her side watched Pakistan’s practice.
“In the death overs, the wicket got a bit flat and it was an easy strip for batting. In my view, the bowlers have done a good job. Yes we were a bit slow regarding run rate and we could have improved it. We tried to maintain the average of 4 runs per over. We took the game to the end but could not finish well. We built a few good partnerships in the middle but we could not avail the key moments.”
- Bismah Maroof reflecting on Pakistan’s six-run loss against South Africa
Players to watch out for:
Aliya Riaz: The lower middle-order batter came into this World Cup with an intention of being a finisher. In the warm-up matches, she managed 62* and 45* against New Zealand and Bangladesh respectively, with a good strike rate. However, she batted through a slow knock against Australia and couldn’t get going against South Africa. Her record against Bangladesh is good, with an average of 44 and she would be looking to get a score of substance.
Rumana Ahmed: The experienced all-rounder is possibly one of Bangladesh’s best players at the World Cup. However, so far, she hasn’t been able to turn up at this tournament. Her record against Pakistan is pretty amazing and she scored a match-turning fifty and helped her side to a famous win in the last ODI between these two teams. She would be itching to get on the field against Pakistan.
Head to head: Played 11, Pakistan 6-5 Bangladesh
- Bismah Maroof is the leading run-getter in the contests between the two sides, with 352 runs at an average of 44 in nine innings.
- Rumana Ahmed is the highest-run getter and wicket-taker for Bangladesh against Pakistan. She has 328 runs and 15 wickets in 11 matches.
Pakistan: Sidra Ameen, Nahida Khan, Bismah Maroof (c), Omaima Sohail, Nida Dar, Aliya Riaz, Fatima Sana, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Diana Baig, Nashra Sandhu, Ghulam Fatima
Bangladesh: Shamima Sultana (wk), Fargana Hoque, Nigar Sultana (c), Rumana Ahmed, Ritu Moni, Sobhana Mostary, Salma Khatun, Lata Mondal, Jahanara Alam, Nahida Akter, Fariha Trisna