Many things were happening about Bangladesh-Pakistan series in the soil of Pakistan. But now, keeping everything aside, the cricket is finally set to take the field when the Tigers will face off the hosts on Friday in the first T20 of the three-match series in Lahore.
The match will start at 3pm (Bangladesh time) at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The official broadcast partner of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), Gtv, will telecast the game live in Bangladesh. At the same time, the match will be live on YouTube through an official channel.
Before this series, Bangladesh and Pakistan faced each other in 10 T20 Internationals, in which, Pakistan won eight and Bangladesh managed to win the other two.
In the pre-series press conference, Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad told the media that they are eager to play cricket and forget the other things that were talked much. Tigers have to stay in Pakistan in a tight-secured environment which is not usual for them. Mahmudullah said that this will not impact their game.
“We are concentrating only on our game. We have nothing to worry about the security arrangement or anything like that. We understand that Pakistan is a big force in T20 Internationals. Despite that, we upbeat to offer a strong show in the field,” Mahmudullah told the media in the pre-series press conference at the venue.
Bangladesh are going to miss the service of two veterans Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim. While Shakib is out of action due to a two-year ban imposed by the ICC, Mushfiqur skipped the Pakistan series due to the concern of his family about security. Mahmudullah reckons it will be tough for Bangladesh to come up with the replacements of the duo. But he said the young guys who made it to the national squad are capable enough to deliver good performances.
“Yes, they are not here. But (we are not worried, because of) the young players who have proved their worth in the just-concluded Bangabandhu BPL. They are keen to bring their strong show at the international level as well. If you talk about the experience, we have Tamim (Iqbal), Shafiul (Islam), Al-Amin (Hossain), Soumya (Sarkar) and Mustafizur (Rahman) who have been playing together for a long time. So we are not worried about who are not here. Instead, we are looking forward to performing well in the field,” Bangladesh captain added.
Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo earlier said that this series will be the start of his preparation to sort out the squad for the T20 World Cup this year which will take place in Australia. Mahmudullah echoed his coach in the pre-series media interaction.
“It’s a big opportunity for us to sort out our team ahead of the T20 World Cup. We have to make habit to win the T20 matches. At the same time, it’s a big chance for all of us to win a series in Pakistan,” Mahmudullah told the media.
Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir could have been the big threats if they were in the Pakistan squad. However, Mahmudullah said they are not heeding much on the opposition. Instead, they are thinking to execute their plan in the field.
Bangladesh team reached Lahore at 10:30pm (Local time) on January 22. Tigers went to Pakistan through a chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines since there is no direct flight to Pakistan from Bangladesh.
After reaching there, Tigers were welcomed by the government and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials. Mahmudullah and his team are staying at Pearl-Continental Hotels.
While the first match of the series will take place on Friday, the next two games will be played on January 25 and 27 at the same venue. After that, Tigers will back home and return to Pakistan two times more to play two Tests and one ODI.
While Bangladesh national team will take on Pakistan in Lahore in the first match of three-match T20 series, the Under-19 teams of the respective countries will face off at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, in the last Group C match of the ongoing ICC Under-19 World Cup.
Both of Bangladesh and Pakistan have played two matches each and won to ensure the super-league stage. Now, both countries will take the field aiming the slot of the group champions.
In the first game of the event, Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by nine wickets. In the next game, they outplay Scotland by seven wickets.
On the other hand, Pakistan beat Scotland in their first game before winning the second against Zimbabwe.
Bangladesh advanced to the next phase of the event with the win of Pakistan against Zimbabwe, which confirmed that no team would be able to surpass them and Bangladesh in terms of getting more points from this group.
Angelo Mathews made a maiden double century to drive Sri Lanka to 515-9 declared and a lead of 157 runs over Zimbabwe in the first test on Wednesday.
Mathews was 200 not out at the declaration and batted for exactly 10 hours over two days to take Sri Lanka well past Zimbabwe's first innings of 358 all out.
Zimbabwe was 30-0 in its second innings and still 127 behind at stumps on the fourth day.
Zimbabwe needs to bat solidly on the final day to have a chance at a draw in its first test in more than a year. Sri Lanka has hopes of applying pressure at Harare Sports Club to set up a victory.
The teams are playing two tests in the series.
Mathews wore down the bowlers with a mixture of solid defense and aggressive stroke-play. The 32-year-old right-hander faced 468 balls and cracked 16 fours and three sixes, sharing a 136-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Niroshan Dickwella (63).
"I had to work really hard, the Zimbabweans didn't give anything away," Mathews said. "They just bowled exactly the lines and the lengths required on these kind of wickets. They kept hitting the right areas and we had to work extremely hard. We had to grind and grind and grind and fortunately I was able to do that with the help of the other batters."
Dickwella departed when he was trapped lbw by off-spinner Sikandar Raza (3-62), who also removed Suranga Lakmal (27) and Lasith Embuldeniya for a duck.
"For a nation who hasn't played test cricket in 17, 18 months — and we've gone through a tough period — to be able to take the test to a fifth day, I think we're on the right direction," Raza said.
Debutant Zimbabwe pace bowler Victor Nyauchi ended with figures of 3-69 and also claimed the wicket of Dhananjaya de Silva for 63.
Sri Lanka was 295-4 overnight and had Kusal Mendis's 80 from the previous day as its second highest score of the innings.
Zimbabwe opening batsman Kevin Kasuza, who is playing his first test, has been replaced for the rest of the game after suffering a delayed concussion. Kasuza, who scored 63 in the first innings, was hit by the ball on the helmet while fielding close to the batsman at short leg on day three.
He was replaced by Brian Mudzinganyama under the International Cricket Council's new concussion rules.
Mudzinganyama was 15 not out opening the batting with Prince Masvaure in Zimbabwe's second innings. Masvaure, who scored a half century in the first innings, was unbeaten on 14 at the close of play.
Bangladesh national cricket team reached Lahore at 10:30pm (local time) on Wednesday night and checked in at the Pearl-Continental Hotel.
Tigers departed for Lahore from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 8pm (Bangladesh time) on the same day through a chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
Bangladesh will play a three-match T20 International series against the hosts starting from January 24 with the other two games played on January 25 and 27.
Tigers will back home after this series and will travel to Pakistan two times again to play Two Tests and one ODI.
Along with 15-member players’ squad, a total of eight support staff will accompany the team during this series. At the same time, the chief selector of Bangladesh cricket board (BCB) Minhajul Abedin and chairman of cricket operation committee of the board Akram will also stay with the team.
To ensure the tight security to the Tigers, the Pakistan authorities deployed a total of 10,000 cops.
Before flying for Pakistan, Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad had said that they will pose a strong fight against Pakistan to win the series.
Bangladesh cricket team left here for Pakistan on Wednesday night to play a three-match T20I series in Lahore.
A chartered flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying them took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 8pm and it will directly fly to Lahore.
Along with a 15-member squad of players, a total of eight support staff are accompanying the team during this series.
Bangladesh T20I captain Mahmudullah Riyad told the media that they are aiming to win the series in Pakistan.
“Pakistan have been playing well in the T20 format and doing well. But we’ve also displayed good performance in some notable matches. I’m hopeful of playing some enjoyable games in the series. If we can play our best cricket, we can win the series,” Mahmudullah told the media at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
The first match of the series will take place on January 24 while the other two matches will be played on January 25 and 27. All the matches will be played on the same ground- Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
Bangladesh team will be provided presidential security during the series. As per media reports from Pakistan, a total of 10,000 cops will be deployed to ensure security for the Bangladesh team which might impact natural the game of the Tigers.
Mahmudullah, however, ruled out that idea. “I don’t think this way. No one of the members of Bangladesh is thinking this way. The decision has already been taken, and we’re ready to play cricket in Pakistan. We’re focusing only on our game and planning how we can win the series,” he had said.
The series was under a cloud for a long time due to the concern about the security situation in Pakistan. No team toured the country to play Test cricket after the infamous terror attack on the touring Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009 until Sri Lanka ended that drought in 2019.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) came to an agreement recently on condition of splitting the series into three phases. Bangladesh will now play only three-match T20 series.
In the second phase, they will tour Pakistan for a Test, and in the third and final phase, Bangladesh will tour Pakistan for one ODI and one Test.
Bangladesh T20 squad for Pakistan tour: Mahmudullah Riyad (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain, Mahedi Hasan, Aminul Islam Bipblob, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Al Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain and Hasan Mahmud
Support Staff: Sabbir Khan Shafin (team manager), Russell Domingo (head coach), Ottis Gibson (bowling coach), Sohel Islam (fielding coach), Julian Calefato (physiotherapist), Tushar Kanti (trainer), Rabeed Imam (media manager) and Mohammad Sohel (masseur).