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ICC World Cup: Bangladesh to face Pakistan at Eden Gardens, Kolkata

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In ICC World Cup, The 31st match of the ICC World Cup will be played today between Bangladesh and Pakistan at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The match will start at 2 PM.

Now here’s a contest that might have looked quite different before the start of the World Cup. Pakistan may have expected to strongly be in the running for a top-four slot in the second-half of their campaign and Bangladesh would have represented that tricky opposition, playing not too far away from home and backed up by some of the most varied spin bowlers in the game.

But there’s something about this fixture that doesn’t quite feel the same now. Bangladesh’s rise through the ODI ranks – from making the quarters of the 2015 World Cup to going one better in the 2017 Champions Trophy – has been a joy to behold. Despite the odd periods of stasis, the win over India last year and their general dominance at home is proof that this generation of Bangladesh battlers can never be written off. But in five of the six games this World Cup, they simply haven’t been at the races, their usual exuberance drained from one loss to the next. Case in point, their dispiriting display against Netherlands at this very venue on Saturday. Faced with a team displaying the zest of the Bangladesh teams of yore, Shakib Al Hasan’s side gave the impression that trying to see out 50 overs was the most important part of their day’s work.

And therefore, starting afresh would seem like the best way ahead. The captain, their most iconic player, will step down after this tournament is already considering retirement in a couple of years. Wholesale changes are expected in the coaching staff and potentially to the squad too. The BCB president, though, has thrown his weight, at least publicly, behind this struggling contingent in India.

Which, it would appear, gives them something of an edge over their next opponents. Pakistan’s campaign has been a litany of incremental issues, from losing star pacer Naseem Shah before the tournament, to the off-coloured displays from Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf, to a questionably timed and worded media release and now to the resignation of chief selector Inzamam ul Haq midway through the campaign. The net effect is destabilisation and demoralisation. Just when the team would have been expected to strut the same stuff that got them to the No.1 rank just before this tournament, they find themselves dragged down both by in-fighting and incompetence.

They did, however, produce one of their better performances in their last outing, which has to count as progress. Their bowling was full of commitment and menace and on another day, they may have landed on the right side of DRS calls and the result. Interestingly, even after four straight losses, they haven’t still been eliminated from this competition and until the guillotine falls, they will have a flicker of a flame to fan. If they can now bat those 50 overs, that will be a great place to (re)start.


Bangladesh Squad: Litton Das, Tanzid Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan(c), Mushfiqur Rahim(w), Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Towhid Hridoy, Hasan Mahmud, Tanzim Hasan Sakib

Pakistan Squad: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Usama Mir, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Agha Salman

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