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Depleted Pakistan face plucky Bangladesh in opener

April 30, 2010 16:52 IST

Smarting from an embarrassing defeat to Zimbabwe in a warm-up match, defending champions Pakistan will have to quickly get their act together as they have a tricky opener against Bangladesh in the Twenty20 World Cup in St Lucia on Saturday.

shahid afridiThursday's defeat came as a rude shock for the defending champions, who had beaten Sri Lanka in the summit clash of the previous edition at Lord's to clinch the title.

Pakistan have played very few Twenty20 matches in the last one year and some of their top cricketers were banned and fined for indiscipline.

Prominent among them are Shoaib Malik, who got married to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza recently, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and former skipper Younis Khan and all of them will be missing in action in the World Cup.

Hence the onus will now be on skipper Shahid Afridi, who was also fined for $35,000, to ensure that his teammates puts behind all such issues and give their best.

On Thursday, Pakistan had a batting collapse with opener Khalid Latif, Mohammad Hafeez, Afridi and Umar Akmal all managing single digit scores. Senior player Abdul Razzaq also managed just two runs as they folded for 131 chasing Zimbabwe's 143 in 20 overs.

Afridi will have to make sure that this defeat doesn't dent the team's morale and has no bearing in Saturday's clash against Bangladesh.

Although failing with bat, Afridi at least picked up four wickets against Zimbabwe with his leg-spin and it will boost his confidence, which will help reflect positively in his captaincy on Saturday.

Despite the loss, Pakistan remain a formidable side and Bangladesh will have to play out of their skins to beat them.

With just three wins - against Kenya, Zimbabwe and the West Indies - out of their 14 Twenty20 internationals in 2006 and 2007, Bangladesh don't have anything to show.

Also in their seven matches in the previous editions of the Twenty20 World Cup, Bangladesh have won just one match - against the West Indies.

To top that, a seven-wicket loss to England in a warm-up match in Barbados on Wednesday would have certainly dented their confidence.

However, Bangladesh will take heart from their 2007 50-over World Cup exploits in the Caribbean when they beat India in the Group stage.

Bangladesh have the likes of captain Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Abdur Razzak, who can guide the team to an upset win.

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