3 Key Points for Pakistan to win vs. Bangladesh
Pakistan and Bangladesh face off in what is virtually a semi-final of the Asia Cup 2018 to decide who will face India in the final at Dubai on Friday. Both teams know victory will get them one step closer to winning the tournament and defeat will be the end of the road for them.
We take a look at the key points Pakistan must reach in order to face India in the final.
#3 Openers must click
Starting the batting innings with a bang has been customary for the top ODI teams for some time now (see Sharma/Dhawan, Warner/Finch). In the Asia Cup so far, Pakistan has started their batting on the back foot, both literally and figuratively.
Pakistan's opening duo of Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul-Haq have registered opening partnerships of 41, 2, 0, and 24. Fakhar Zaman's especially uncharacteristic poor form has consistently denied Pakistan good starts throughout their campaign.
An early wicket spells trouble, putting pressure on the middle order into consolidating and often batting themselves into a shell. Regardless of whether they bat first or chase, a solid opening partnership will be vital for Pakistan. Perhaps a Mr. Shan Masood comes into play?
#2 Pacers need to find their rhythm
Once the fear of opponent batsmen worldwide, the fast bowlers in the Pakistan camp have been largely ineffective. They have struggled to find their lengths, bowling it too short consistently and pitching it in areas that make the field placements worthless.
Most guilty of this is Mohammad Amir. Amir was returned to the side vs. India on Sunday after being dropped vs. Afghanistan. He has now gone over 35 overs without registering a wicket. Not even one. It is crucial for him to find his groove and recover in time vs. Bangladesh.
Hasan Ali, the only pacer who's played each match of the tournament, has also had trouble (3 wickets at 51.66). He will need to step up if Pakistan has any hopes of advancing.
#1 Be wary of Bangladesh's spin attack
On pitches well suited for spin, Pakistan has fallen victim to spin 14 times this campaign. They were forced to play defensively against the Indian duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Pakistan will need to be careful of slow left-armer Shakib al-Hasan, who already has 7 scalps this tournament. Also needing attention is off-spinner Mehedi Miraz, who may come on early as an aggressive tactic vs. left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman
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