LAHORE JAN 24 (DNA): Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah on Friday won the toss against Pakistan in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) of the three-match series and decided to bat first at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore (GSL).
Ahsan Ali and Haris Rauf are making their debuts for Babar Azam-led Pakistan side while veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik – who had been recalled for the T20I format – are also part of the team.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Naim, Afif Hossain, Liton Das (wk), Mahmudullah (capt.), Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain
Pakistan: Ahsan Ali, Babar Azam (capt.), Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain
Top Spot at Stake
If Pakistan lose just one of the three matches scheduled they will slide to second behind England or India in the rankings after holding the top spot since January 2018.
The first priority for skipper Babar Azam is to stay top of the world in the shortest international version of the game. “The focus is to continue the number one ranking,” Babar had said on Thursday. “We can hang on to that only if we win all three matches, so it’s a do-or-die situation and we have planned for that,” he told a press conference.
Pakistan’s rise started in 2016 under Sarfaraz Ahmed as they won eleven consecutive Twenty20 series – before losing three on the trot.
A poor finish in the 50-over World Cup in England, where they failed to reach the semi-finals, resulted in the sacking of Sarfaraz and head coach Mickey Arthur, to be replaced by Azam and Misbah-ul-Haq respectively.
The team remained in a slump in Australia late last year, losing 2-0 in the Twenty20s and by the same margin in two Tests.
Bangladesh, who last toured Pakistan in 2008, are coming off the back of an impressive series in India, where they won one of their three matches. They also have a 2-1 advantage against Pakistan in the last three Twenty20 internationals.
“We have been good,” said Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah. “We want to do well in Pakistan.” Mahmudullah said security fears had been left behind in Bangladesh. “We feel good in Pakistan… so the focus will be on cricket.”
Umpires: Ahsan Raza (PAK) and Shozab Raza (PAK
TV umpire: Ahmed Shahab (PAK)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)