The three-match T20 series between hosts Bangladesh and touring Pakistan begins here Friday (November 19) at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur with Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad looking to restore pride lost in the recently concluded World Cup.
The match will kick-off at 2 pm (Bangladesh time).
Local fans for the first time will be allowed to witness the match live at the big bowl since the start of the pandemic. Around 50% of tickets against the stadium’s capacity will available for the fans and most of the tickets are already sold out.
The second match of the series will be played the very next day (November 20), with the concluding match on November 22 at the same venue.
Before this series, Bangladesh and Pakistan played each other on 12 occasions in the format, with Bangladesh winning only two of them.
When captain Mahmudullah Riyad was asked a question regarding the failure of Bangladesh in T20 World Cup at a pre-match press conference on Thursday, he appeared to be annoyed. But the Bangladesh T20I captain softly replied that he is not willing to talk more about the World Cup.
It’s understandable why the Bangladesh captain is so annoyed to talk about the just-concluded World Cup— they lost six out of eight matches they played, including all five in the Super 12s phase, at the biggest stage of T20 cricket.
Bangladesh’s defeat against Scotland in the very first match of their World Cup campaign was difficult to accept for most cricket fans. They lost two warm-up matches right before the World Cup, so they needed some time to get themselves up for the main event.
But when they won their next two matches against Oman and Papua New Guinea to qualify for the Super 12s phase of the World Cup, expectations were high and the Tigers failed miserably to deliver.
“I don’t want to talk about the World Cup, we rather are focusing on the next match and on this series. It’s more important to me how much we can contribute to the team in this contest than thinking about the World Cup. Pakistan are one of the best teams in the world, so this series is going to be a tough one,” Mahmudullah said Thursday at the pre-match press conference.
In the mission to restore pride, Bangladesh are going to miss the services of Mushfiqur Rahim, who has always been one of Bangladesh’s mainstays in the batting line. He failed to shine in the World Cup— scoring only 144 runs in eight matches with five single-digit scores.
Mushfiqur’s omission came as a surprise to many including the wicketkeeper-batter himself. Bangladesh chief selector Minhajul Abedin said that he was rested as they want him fresh for the busy Test schedule awaiting in the coming months.
“We want Mushfiq to deliver his best in the Test series against Pakistan and New Zealand,” Minhajul told the media after announcing a new-look Bangladesh T20 squad for the Pakistan series. “We have to play successive four Tests against Pakistan and New Zealand. We want Mushfiqur to be fresh for these matches, and Tamim (Iqbal) is suffering from an injury and his participation is uncertain in these Tests. In this situation, Mushfiqur is so important for us, and this is why he was rested.”
Minhajul has claimed that to make the decision of leaving out Mushfiqur, the selection panel had reflected the thought process of the team management— a claim that Mushfiqur refused publicly in interviews with the local media.
The right-handed batter said the team management didn’t talk to him about his rest. He said he is taking this move as his first omission from the team in many years, and he also added it’s a challenge for him to prove his mettle in this format.