Pakistan retain top ranking after third Bangladesh T20 rained off

January 28, 2020

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LAHORE: PAKISTAN cricketers pose with the trophy at the end of the T20 series against Bangladesh at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.—PPI
LAHORE: PAKISTAN cricketers pose with the trophy at the end of the T20 series against Bangladesh at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.—PPI

LAHORE: Pakistan won the T20 series against Bangladesh 2-0 after the third and final match was washed out due to intermittent drizzle here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday. It is also the first International T20 match in Pakistan which has been abandoned due to rain.

The rain started around mid-day and continued in spells to finally force the umpires to call off the play 40-minute before the cut-off time. Though a good number of fans had reached the venue to watch the match but were left disappointed by the washout. However, a good news for them is that the PCB will refund their tickets as per the ticket refund policy of the Board.

The victory in the series was Pakistan’s first after losing four T20 series on the trot. The string of defeats in T20 games during the last one year had also put Pakistan’s world no.1 ranking at stake and a solitary defeat in the Bangladesh series would have relegated the hosts to number two spot and had put Australia in the top position.

Pakistan won the first match by five wickets and the second by nine wickets, so with the last one washed out, they will keep their top T20 ranking intact.

LAHORE: Ground staff cover the pitch during rain showers before the start of the third T20 between Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.—Online
LAHORE: Ground staff cover the pitch during rain showers before the start of the third T20 between Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.—Online

Head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, while speaking to media at the end of the series, said it was most important for Pakistan to win this series.

“Credit goes to young bowlers who did a fine job and gave no chance to Bangladesh to dictate terms. So overall, it is a good performance. For World Cup’s preparations we still have much time as we have PSL coming up and, of course, there is more international cricket ahead and we may face some tough situations in the future before finalizing the World Cup squad,” he said.

When asked Muhammad Hafeez had demanded a policy for the senior players about their selection, Misbah said no doubt both the seniors Hafeez and Shoaib Malik justified their selection, but the policy is the same, that until a player is fit and performing he can get a chance on merit.

“We tested junior players in the last two series against Sri Lanka and Australia and we realized the team needs some seniors and as Babar Azam (captain) also backed both Hafeez and Malik who proved their form and fitness. So it is good for Pakistan,” he added.

“The PSL would also help to find out some more talented players which will help us to give final shape to the World Cup squad,” said Misbah.

Bangladesh captain Mahm­udullah said the result of the series was disappointing for his. He said his team had a number of talented cricketers but still they had to improve further to perform consistently at the top level.

However, he admitted that Pakistan team is also quite strong in T20 format as their world ranking shows while his own team was placed at the 9th spot.

“Pakistan’s fast bowling attack is the best in the world,” said Mahmudullah. “It is a well known fact that Pakistan have a factory of producing fast bowlers in good number.”

He further said Bangladesh would return for the Test series with better strategy and will try to give tough time to the hosts.

Mahmudullah also praised the security arrangements made for his team during the tour. “I am quite satisfied with the security arrangements made by Pakistan for the series and Lahore is a beautiful city and my players really enjoyed their stay here.”

Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam was later declared as Man of the series.

The Bangladesh team is to return back late on Monday night. But their Test squad will soon come back to play the first Test match at Rawalpindi from Feb 7 to 11. They will later play the second Test match in Karachi besides an ODI in April after the PSL is over.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2020