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Monday Jan 27 2020
Web Desk

Pakistan eye series sweep to maintain T20 ranking

Web Desk
Photo: file

LAHORE: Pakistan will be looking to complete the T20 series sweep with a win against Bangladesh in the third and final match today to maintain their top ranking in the shortest format of the game.

The green shirts will slide to second behind England or India in the rankings if they lose the match. Pakistan have retained their top position since January 2018.

Pakistan, who fielded the same XI in the first two matches, might want to test their bench strength in the final game. Teenager Muhammad Musa might get a look in, while one of Amad Butt and Usman Qadir might be handed an international debut.

Also read: Pakistan become first to play 150th T20 International

Bangladesh, on the other hand, might be tempted to bring in the experience of Rubel Hussain, after conceding a nine-wicket victory to Pakistan on Saturday. Middle-order batter Najmul Hossain Shanto, who impressed in the Bangladesh Premier League, might also be considered for the final T20I.

A masterful 66* from Babar Azam, the No.1 batsman in the ICC T20I Rankings, helped Pakistan chase down the 137-run target with nine wickets and 3.2 overs to spare.

Mohammad Hafeez was excellent as well, registering a 49-ball 67* after walking in to bat in the second over. The duo navigated Bangladesh’s bowling attack expertly, taking the hosts to a memorable series victory in Lahore.

Read more: Pakistan beat Bangladesh, clinch first T20I series win since 2018

While Bangladesh struggled to put on a big score, Tamim Iqbal impressed with a 53-ball 65 at the top of the order. He looked set to get a big score, but was run out in the 18th over.

The visitors will hope for more contribution from experienced batters such as Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar and skipper Mahmudullah in the third game. None of them have crossed the 20-run mark in the series so far.

The Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore has had a slight grass cover on the pitch in both games, and batting hasn’t been easy, particularly for the side batting first.  The 200-run mark has never been breached at this venue in T20I cricket. Showers are expected in Lahore in the afternoon.