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Bangladesh see opportunity to clinch first series win against Pakistan

31After ending their 16-year long Pakistan jinx, Bangladesh now have the opportunity to clinch a series win for the first time against their sub-continent rivals.

The second ODI of the three-match series is scheduled for 2:30pm at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday.

Bangladesh won the first match comprehensively by 79 runs on Friday.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has already said he does not want to wait for the last match to win the series.

Mashrafe was barred from playing the first ODI after two slow over-rate offences in the World Cup. He will be returning to the team on Sunday.

All-rounder Abul Hasan, who could not put up a good show on Sunday, will have to sit out to make way for the captain.

Hasan was smashed 19 in an over that included four boundaries and conceded 40 runs in his 5 overs without any success.

Although Mashrafe thinks the first ODI was almost perfect for Bangladesh, he conceded that the bowling ‘could have been better’.

Mashrafe’s return will also give edge to Bangladesh pace trio that consists of Mashrafe, Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed.

All-rounder Soumya Sarkar can support them with his medium pace.

Shakib Al Hasan and Arafat Sunny’s spin will complement the Tigers pace arsenal. The top all-rounder is in good touch while Sunny is always dangerous on home tracks.

All-rounders Nasir Hossain, Mahmudullah and Sabbir Rahman are all capable spinners providing additional options for the captain.

Opener Tamim Iqbal’s return to form also boosted Mashrafe’s hopes for a good start. Sarkar may once again open the batting with Tamim.

“I had always said, scoring runs was a matter of time for Tamim. It was easy to say that he is not among runs but the way he had been practicing and scoring runs in the net, I felt, he would soon do well. He has resumed scoring big runs; let’s hope he retains it (his form).”

The hosts shuffled their batting order in the first match. Mahmudullah followed Tamim and Sarkar as ‘run-machine’ Mushfiqur Rahim was slotted at four and Shakib at five.

Sabbir and Nasir come in after Shakib while Mashrafe is capable of playing shots down the order.

Mashrafe is not concerned about the batting order at the moment.

“The batting order is just a number. (Players) have to play according to the team’s requirement. Everyone has been asked to be prepared like that… the team is very balanced.”

Inclusion of five specialist bowlers proved to be costly for Pakistan in the first match. Saad Nasir is likely to be replaced by left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar.

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali will need his bowlers to put up better show to turn things around in the second match.

On his return to the team after a corrected bowling action, talismanic Saeed Ajmal ended with his worst ODI figures, 0 for 74 in 10 overs, in the first match.

Pakistan will also hope to put a better show in the field. They dropped catches of centurions Tamim and Mushfiq on Friday which proved too costly for them.

Although experiences of Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi are sorely missed in the Pakistan squad, Azhar has put his faith in his available picks.

Pakistan’s batting unit – that consists of Sarfraz Ahmed, Azhar, Mohammed Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan – lacks depth.

It will be difficult for them to chase down big targets, so their bowlers need to play their roles more responsibly if the 1992 World Cup champions are to bounce back.

Mashrafe thinks it will take Pakistan, who are going through a transition period, some time to gather themselves. He wants to seal the series before that happens.