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Pakistan focused on retaining No.1 spot as Bangladesh mull changes
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Pakistan focused on retaining No.1 spot as Bangladesh mull changes

Bangladesh haven't yet come to the party and never looked like creating massive inroads in the first two T20Is. The comeback of elder statesmen - Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik - have brought stability to the batting line-up and the duo played a pivotal role in chasing down untaxing totals. 

The wins were set-up by the concerted efforts of the well-oiled bowling machine that features rising T20 cricket stars in the shape of Haris Rauf, who has been in terrific form in the Big Bash League and his fellow speedsters Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain have been spot on with their tactics. 

Moreover, the spinners, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan kept things tight in the middle overs which helped them stymie the run-flow. The leggie returned to action after a successful Bangladesh Premier League outing and looked in better rhythm with the ball.

Bangladesh missed the services of veterans; Mushfiqur Rahim pulled out of the tour while former captain Shakib Al Hasan's unavailability has increased visitors' woes. 

Tamim Iqbal was the lone ranger in the otherwise insipid batting line-up that seemed out of sorts in the first two encounters as they could only muster 141 and 136 which didn't prove enough to cause trouble.

The tigers have been lacking the flamboyance and counter-attacking approach which has paid rich dividends over the past few years and led to their rise.

That being said, Bangladesh weren't far away from giving Pakistan a run for their money. In hindsight, if they managed to post respectable totals, Pakistan could have faltered as they weren't clinical enough in this series while chasing below-par totals. 

ALSO READ: Pakistan look to return to winning ways against spirited Bangladesh

The touring party has been found wanting in the bowling department as well. Mustafizur Rahman hasn't been on top of his game and his bowling partners have been guilty of bleeding too many runs and erring in their lines. It remains to be seen if they can get their act together and bag the consolatory win before concluding the first phase of the Pakistan tour. 

Pakistan won't be just content with the unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. There is a lot more to loss for Pakistan in the third T20I because the hosts have been ruthless in the format and the number one ranking wasn't in jeopardy at the time when Sarfaraz Ahmed was having a dream run in the format but then things went haywire in overseas tours and a shock defeat against Sri Lanka at Lahore in October 2019 put the top team on the path of unabating regression.

Signs of resurgence have been evident in this ongoing series and Pakistan's new captain Babar Azam, who took on the mantle of leadership just a few months ago, would strive to retain the top spot in the ICC rankings.

Pakistan Squad

Babar Azam (capt), Ahsan Ali, Ammad Butt, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah, Shoaib Malik, Usman Qadir

Bangladesh Squad

Mahmudullah (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das (wk), Mohammad Mithun (wk), Afif Hossain, Mahedi Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Hasan Mahmud