Pakistan will be hoping to put their dismal run in T20Is to an end when they meet Bangladesh in the first of three T20Is at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday.
The hosts are coming into the series after losing all their all six completed shortest-format games; however, they yet hold the world no.1 position in the ICC ranking. They now need to beat Bangladesh with a 3-0 scoreline to retain their top spot. Their failure to secure a whitewash will lead to their replacement by Australia at the helm.
Result: Pakistan won by five wickets
Pakistan won only one of their ten T20Is last year, suffering humiliating 3-0 whitewash at the hands of a second-string Sri Lankan side in Lahore in October. The result led to the sacking and ouster of Sarfraz Ahmed and the appointment of Babar Azam as captain.
Azam too – was unable to change the team’s fortunes in his first assignment as they suffered a 2-0 loss to Australia in November. Now, the home series provides the promising batsman a great opportunity to begin the new year with a victory.
Pakistan have recalled senior all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, who both weren’t part of the national T20I side last year, into the squad. Four uncapped players Haris Rauf, Amad Butt, Usman Qadir, and Ahsan Ali, have also been included in the line-up.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, will be looking to put up a promising show after a convincing performance against India in the most recent T20I assignment in October last year. They began the home series with a thumping win; however, they lost the next two games.
For this series, they will be boosted by the return of opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, who had pulled out of India series due to family reasons. Another returnee in their side is seamer Rubel Hossain, who hasn’t played for the country in any format since July last year.
The next T20 will be played on Saturday while the last on Monday at the same venue.