DUBAI: Pakistan will take on Bangladesh today at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium in hope of making a comeback in Asia Cup 2018 and reach the final to be played on Sunday against India.
Pakistan players in practice session ahead of Bangladesh clash at the ICC Academy.When the last time Pakistan travelled to Abu Dhabi for an Asia Cup game they stepped on a banana peel and almost slipped before Shoaib Malik’s rescue act saved them in the Super-Fours game against Afghanistan.They would need to do much better in today’s trip to Abu Dhabi as Pakistan cannot afford any hiccups in the must-win match against Bangladesh. It’s effectively a semi-final as a nine-wicket defeat against India on Sunday has left Pakistan just one failure away from what would be an embarrassing exit from this six-nation contest.Pakistan’s players are well aware of the fact that they cannot afford such ignominy. With the ICC World Cup in England just eight months away, there could be major repercussions for some members of the Pakistani squad if the teams failed to lift its Asia Cup campaign.That was probably the reason why the Pakistanis carried out extensive training session on a hot afternoon here at the ICC Academy on Wednesday. The batters took extended turns while the bowlers sweated it out under the watchful eye of the team management.But one training session, however, grueling, is unlikely to help the management iron out the various weak links in the line-up. Apart from the prolific Shoaib Malik, the batsmen have mostly flopped. The bowlers, generally Pakistan’s most potent weapons, have been unable to exhibit any really. And the catching has been horrible.But Pakistan, being Pakistan, remain the favorites to beat Bangladesh, a side which is struggling with its own demons. Over the years, Pakistan have mostly given their best facing similar situations. The question, however, is whether they would be able to do that again at the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi today?Signs haven’t been good. Their openers, especially the highly-rated Fakhar Zaman has failed to show the sort of form that made him top the ‘Pakistan’s players to watch in the Asia Cup’ list.Fakhar Zaman has so far made just 55 runs in the tournament. Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Asif Ali have made 58 and 46 respectively, in the four matches so far. The middle-order has seen some good contributions from Malik but hasn’t exhibited real spine especially in the two big losses against the Indians.A below-par performance from the bowlers has also posed a major headache for coach Mickey Arthur. From pace spearhead Mohammad Amir to the wily leggie Shadab Khan, the Pakistani bowlers have punched way below their weight.Pakistan need to change that script against Bangladesh, against a side they enjoy a 31-4 advantage when it comes to head-to-head record. They brought back Amir for Sunday’s game against India but it turned out to be his sixth consecutive wicketless match. Hasan Ali hasn’t been faring well either having picked three wickets Read More