Bangladesh vs. Pakistan: Key Players and Prediction for Asia Cup Showdown

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2014

Pakistan look to seal their place in the final of this season's Asia Cup as they take on a deflated Bangladesh team.

Bangladesh have been heavily criticised of late due to a series of defeats and lacklustre displays, and facing a tough Pakistan side is in many ways the last challenge they need at the moment. 

The last game between these sides was the 2012 Asia Cup final, which Bangladesh lost by only two runs.

But with the host team's recent collapse in form, they will struggle to face a side with a huge motivation to win.

Here are the key players to watch out for and a prediction for the match:

 

Shahid Afridi

The veteran all-rounder is still one of the best in the business, and he will be looking to destroy Bangladesh with his quality.

The player now has 7,560 runs in ODIs and 378 wickets, per ESPNcricinfo.

Pakistan's hero showed his genius in the previous match versus India when he drove his team home in a rasping last-over finish to take the victory.

Imran Khan commented on Twitter about the win and Afridi:

Afridi's ability cannot be doubted, and he could play a starring role with bat or ball against Bangladesh.

As disappointment circles the host nation's team, you can expect Afridi to take full advantage of their problems and fire his team to victory. 

 

Mominul Haque

He might be the only hope for his country against Pakistan, but middle-order batsman Mominul Haque is one of the few players to show any good form recently for Bangladesh.

Against Afghanistan, he made 50 runs but got out just when the team required his presence at the crease during a crucial period.

He has been in form at No. 3 but has not been able to kick on when needed to lead the charge.

Despite Haque's efforts, Bangladesh are in turmoil at the moment, but their captain has called for a greater effort in games.

Mushfiqur Rahim said, per ESPNcricinfo: "We have to give extra effort against any team, whether it is Pakistan or any other team. Tomorrow is a big opportunity to improve on our performance."

Haque has 397 from his 17 ODIs at an average of 26.46, per ESPNcricinfo, but his test average of 75.50 shows that the 22-year-old can accumulate runs.

If he can show his best form against Pakistan, there could be a shock on the cards.

 

Prediction

The motivation here clearly lies with Pakistan, and they will take this tie by the scruff of the neck.

Nobody knows the full extent of the issues within Bangladesh's team, but it will have a negative impact on the side and the result of this ODI. 

Pakistan know that a good performance will easily see them into the final.

They have an excellent chance of winning the cup and will not let the wounded host affect their chances of glory.

If Afridi hits the heights that everyone knows he can, this may turn into a humiliating scoreline.

Pakistan should cruise home to a comprehensive win.

 

Prediction: Pakistan win by 100 runs

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